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Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf
This volume presents a study of transnational cultural flows in the Gulf region and beyond. It combines an understanding of the region’s historical connections with the outside world and an assessment of contemporary consequences of these connections. In the context of current theoretical debates, empirical case studies are presented to demonstrate that the Gulf is not only an exporter of oil and capital, but also of culture and religion. As these travel to distant locations, they are transformed in ways not intended by those who initiated the process – at the same time, the Gulf remains an importer of labour, the latest technology, economic skills and ideas, whose roots are no longer possible to locate. Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf challenges both the definition of globalisation and transnationalism as one way processes generated mainly by the Western World and the view that transnationalism is solely a twentieth century phenomenon. The authors collected here analyse and map historical and contemporary manifestations of transnational networks within this region, linking them to wider debates on society, identity and political culture. This volume will interest students and researchers of politics, the Middle East, anthropology and transnationalism. Madawi Al-Rasheed is Professor of Anthropology of Religion at King’s College, University of London.
Transnationalism Series Editor: Steven Vertovec
University of Oxford
‘Transnationalism’ broadly refers to multiple ties and interactions linking people or institutions across the borders of nation-states. Today myriad systems of relationship, exchange and mobility function intensively and in real time while being spread across the world. New technologies, especially involving telecommunications, serve to connect such networks. Despite great distances and notwithstanding the presence of international borders (and all the laws, regulations and national narratives they represent), many forms of association have been globally intensified and now take place paradoxically in a planet-spanning yet common arena of activity. In some instances transnational forms and processes serve to speed-up or exacerbate historical patterns of activity, in others they represent arguably new forms of human interaction. Transnational practices and their consequent configurations of power are shaping the world of the twenty-first century. This book forms part of a series of volumes concerned with describing and analyzing a range of phenomena surrounding this field. Serving to ground theory and research on ‘globalization’, the Routledge book series on ‘Transnationalism’ offers the latest empirical studies and ground-breaking theoretical works on contemporary socio-economic, political and cultural processes which span international boundaries. Contributions to the series are drawn from Sociology, Economics, Anthropology, Politics, Geography, International Relations, Business Studies and Cultural Studies. The ‘Transnationalism’ series grew out of the Transnational Communities Research Programme of the Economic and Social Research Council (see http://www.transcomm.ox.ac.uk). It is currently associated with the Research Council’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society located at the University of Oxford (see http://www.compas.ox.ac.uk). The series consists of two strands: Transnationalism aims to address the needs of students and teachers and these titles will be published in hardback and paperback. Titles include: Culture and Politics in the Information Age A new politics? Edited by Frank Webster Transnational Democracy Political spaces and border crossings Edited by James Anderson
Routledge Research in Transnationalism is a forum for innovative new research intended for a high-level specialist readership, and the titles will be available in hardback only. Titles include: 1 New Transnational Social Spaces International migration and transnational companies in the early 21st century Edited by Ludger Pries 2 Transnational Muslim Politics* Reimagining the Umma Peter G Mandaville 3 New Approaches to Migration? Transnational communities and the transformation of home Edited by Nadje Al-Ali and Khalid Koser 4 Work and Migration: Life and livelihoods in a globalizing world Edited by Ninna Nyberg Sorensen and Karen Fog Olwig 5 Communities across Borders New immigrants and transnational cultures Edited by Paul Kennedy and Victor Roudometof 6 Transnational Spaces Edited by Peter Jackson, Phil Crang and Claire Dwyer 7 The Media of Diaspora Edited by Karim H. Karim 8 Transnational Politics Turks and Kurds in Germany Eva Østergaard-Nielsen 9 Culture and Economy in the Indian Diaspora Edited by Bhikhu Parekh, Gurharpal Singh and Steven Vertovec 10 International Migration and Globalization Edited by Rey Koslowski
* Also available in paperback.
Yeoh and Katie Willis 13 Transnational Activism in Asia Problems of power and democracy Edited by Nicola Piper and Anders Uhlin 14 Diaspora. A. longing and belonging among Moroccan migrant women Ruba Salih 12 State/Nation/Transnation Perspectives on transnationalism in the Asia-Pacific Edited by Brenda S. Identity and Religion New directions in theory and research Edited by Waltraud Kokot. Khachig Tölölyan and Carolin Alfonso 15 Cross-Border Governance in the European Union Edited by Olivier Thomas Kramsch and Barbara Hooper 16 Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf Edited by Madawi Al-Rasheed .11 Gender in Transnationalism Home.
Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf Edited by Madawi Al-Rasheed .
without permission in writing from the publishers. mechanical. Abingdon. the contributors All rights reserved. Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave.First published 2005 by Routledge 2 Park Square.uk. NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group This edition published in the Taylor and Francis e-Library. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic. including photocopying and recording. now known or hereafter invented. or in any information storage or retrieval system.eBookstore.co. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN 0-203-39793-2 Master e-book ISBN ISBN 0-203-67123-6 (Adobe eReader Format) ISBN 0–415–33135–8 (Print Edition) . or other means. Madawi Al-Rasheed. “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.” © 2005 editorial matter and selection. New York. individual chapters. 2005.tandf. Milton Park.
1869–1937 NELIDA FUCCARO 39 3 Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf: the case of the Safar family JAMES ONLEY 59 PART II Global and local networks 4 Dubai: global city and transnational hub ROLAND MARCHAL 91 93 . c.Contents List of illustrations List of contributors Acknowledgements Introduction: localizing the transnational and transnationalizing the local MADAWI AL-RASHEED ix xi xiii 1 PART I Historical reflections on Gulf transnationalism 1 An anational society: eastern Arabia in the Ottoman period FREDERICK ANSCOMBE 19 21 2 Mapping the transnational community: Persians and the space of the city in Bahrain.
viii 5 Contents The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries GAËLLE LE POTTIER 111 6 Indonesians in Saudi Arabia: religious and economic connections MATHIAS DIEDERICH 128 PART III Beyond the Arab Gulf 7 Saudi religious transnationalism in London MADAWI AL-RASHEED 147 149 8 Wahhabism in the United Kingdom: manifestations and reactions JONATHAN BIRT 168 Index 185 .
2 Imports through Qatar. Bahrain) 3.Illustrations Figures 3.1 The Gulf in its wider geographical context 61 Tables 1. c.4 7. and the Gulf Residency headquarters (right).1970 (Bushehri Archive.1910 (Bushehri Archive. Ahmad.3 3.3 Hajji Muhammad Jafar Safar. Bahrain. the Governor of Bushehr’s residence (centre).2 3.1 7.1865 (Bushehri Archive. Bahrain) 64 65 69 70 70 Map 3. Bushehr. c.1909 (Bushehri Archive. Bahrain) 3.4 ‘Abd al-Rasul Safar (centre) and his son.2 Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (centre) and his Arab staff. Bushehr. c. c. Bombay.1 3.1 3. Bahrain) 3. c.1 Bayt Safar (left). Bahrain. Bahrain) 3.5 Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif (centre) – the nephew and son-in-law of Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar – seated with Major Francis Prideaux (Political Agent at Bahrain 1904–9). 1891 Known Safar spouses.1898–9 (Bushehri Archive. 1778–1900 The Safar family tree Britain’s agents in Arabia and Persia from the Safar family Britain’s munshis in Arabia and Persia from the Sharif family Birthplaces of those classified as Other – Other in the 1991 census Saudis entering the UK for short visits 1994–2000 30 65 67 74 75 152 153 .
1750–1830 (forthcoming). Gaëlle Le Pottier holds an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies (University of Oxford). politics and migration in Indonesia and migration from the Philippines to Germany.Contributors Frederick Anscombe is Lecturer in Contemporary History at Birkbeck College. She subsequently did two years of research on contemporary media in the Middle East as part of the Economic . Roland Marchal is Senior Research Fellow at CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) and CERI (Centre for International Studies and Research). His publications include Dubai: cité globale (2001) and Guerres et sociétiés: état et violence après la guerre froide (2003). His research focuses on Islam. which led to research on the oral history of Lebanese pre-civil war student political activism. Jonathan Birt is currently doing a DPhil in Social Anthropology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. James Onley is Assistant Professor of History at the American University of Sharjah and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. Saudi Arabia and Qatar (1997) and editor of The Ottoman Balkans. He is the author of The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants. Nelida Fuccaro lectures in Modern Middle Eastern History at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. and several articles on the urban history of the Persian Gulf. on Islamic movements in Birmingham and London. University of Oxford. Paris. University of London. Rulers. His research focuses on wars in Africa and dimensions of subaltern globalization. Mathias Diederich is a wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter in South East Asian Studies at Wolfgang Goethe Universität (Frankfurt). She is the author of The ‘Other’ Kurds: Yazidis in Colonial Iraq (1999). He is the author of The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait. and the British in the Nineteenth Century Gulf (forthcoming) and the recipient of dissertation awards from both MESA (2001) and BRISMES (2002).
. Contemporary Society and Politics in Saudi Arabia and Yemen (2003. Her books include Politics in an Arabian Oasis (1991).xii Contributors and Social Research Council’s research programme on transnationalism and the Gulf and generated the publication of ‘Le monde de la télévision au Moyen-Orient et le rôle du Liban et des Libanais dans son evolution’. She has recently conducted research in Oman focusing on transnational flows and Omani heritage. Her research focuses on history. University of London. Madawi Al-Rasheed is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at King’s College. A History of Saudi Arabia (2002) and Counter Narratives: History.). society and politics in Saudi Arabia. Iraqi Assyrian Christians in London (1998). ed.
both of whom contributed to the project. I am grateful for comments by Richard Tapper. Second. both have been a source of inspiration and intellectual stimulation throughout the three years in which we worked on Gulf Transnational Flows. Moira Langston provided much-needed assistance during the organization of the conference. Emma Newcombe. Mary Starkey’s editorial assistance was tremendously helpful in the preparation of this volume. I would like to thank the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for a research grant to hold a conference on Gulf transnationalism. First. These include Guido Steinberg. Onn Winckler. Finally. were extremely supportive. I am especially appreciative of the continual support and guidance of Paul Dresch and James Piscatori. St John’s College (Oxford) provided comfortable and hospitable surroundings. and its administrator. Director of the ESRC Transnationalism Programme. Peter Sluglett and Peter Clarke. a research project funded by the ESRC. Penina Webner and Gilles Kepel. Abd al-Aziz al-Fahad.Acknowledgements Various people and institutions have given generous support for this project. Steve Vertovec. In addition to the contributors to this volume. Their comments and perspectives have inspired this book. Fatiha Dazi-Heni. Sharon Nagy. I would like to thank the Department of Theology and Religious Studies (King’s College) for financial support. . This book is based on the proceedings of the conference which took place in September 2002. a number of scholars participated in the conference. Omar Noman. Fatima al-Sayegh. I also want to acknowledge my deep appreciation for Christa Salamandra and Gaëlle le Pottier.
thanks to both the determination of researchers to capture grass-root dynamics and the loosening of controls in the Gulf itself. the Arab Gulf exhibits rather exceptional – some would say unique – features related to its demographic profile and labour force. the USA on the oil resources of Saudi Arabia. citizenship and heritage. New research is now capturing the ethnic diversity of the population. was a feature of the Gulf population throughout the second half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. the Gulf exported oil to the world and hosted multinational corporations. processes of state formation and labour migration have dominated research agendas. expatriates amount to more than 90 per cent of the population. and the social and economic impact of migration in the Gulf. to a lesser extent. Expatriate labour. Qatar.Introduction Localizing the transnational and transnationalizing the local Madawi Al-Rasheed The oil boom of the 1970s was followed by an increase in academic interest in the Arab Gulf. In the literature on the Gulf. For a long time.2 Recent research has focused on urban development and ethnic diversity in Gulf cities. meant that most of the early literature was based on statistical analysis conducted outside the region and short fieldwork trips.1 In the 1990s. Today the Gulf is a hub of social. As such.4 In Dubai.3 Gulf cities are increasingly drawn into the global economy as a result of their oil resources and the flux of labour migrants to the region. political and economic networks. Kuwait. the United Arab Emirates and Oman (known as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states) stimulated interest in these previously little-known countries. While . Asia and. staffed by an expatriate international business elite. account for this uniqueness. The inaccessibility of the Gulf. questions relating to traditional political structures. local debates on globalization. new research based on in-depth study of internal social and political developments began to appear. energy resources. for example.5 The small size of the local population. estimated to be over 70 per cent of the labour force in some GCC countries. The oil boom was also associated with the recruitment of both skilled and unskilled labour. assertions of identity. combined with the low level of indigenous expertise. under the sponsorship of local state-controlled research centres or the patronage of policy organizations based abroad. internal stability. The dependence of Europe. local politicized debates on this diversity and the region’s economic connections with the outside world. Bahrain. manifested in restrictions on field research. ignoring a whole range of other topics.
in the last few decades religious contact – ranging from the transfer of religious discourse to charitable funds and the building of religious institutions abroad – has been initiated in the Gulf. This volume is an attempt to combine an understanding of Gulf historical connections and an assessment of contemporary consequences of these connections. which exceeds that of the smaller GCC states. thanks to its oil wealth.7 Some of the chapters in this volume look beyond the funds underlying religious connections. drawing on the available published Gulf official statistical sources on funding overseas Muslim religious and educational institutions. More recently. not only in the Muslim world but among Muslims in Asia. Europe and the USA. examining both the rationale behind them and their impact on Muslim communities abroad. legal and social restrictions on foreign workers. have used newly available economic resources – mainly oil revenues – to promote Islam. documents aspects of these religious contacts. These initiatives have reached out to Muslims as far as Detroit. Africa. The fact that most Gulf states consider dependence on foreign labour as an unavoidable transitional phase. a growing interest in Gulf-based religious networks began to surface in research agendas. with Saudi Arabia playing a leading role. workers’ legal status and the future of labour migration in the region. Hong Kong and Jakarta. dependence on foreign labour. and local resistance to integrating expatriate communities in GCC countries. among immigrants and diaspora societies and communities in third-world countries (Chinese. social scientists focus on the contemporary manifestations of links with the outside world. Korean and Indian). to be tolerated until the maturation of the local . gender imbalance in the sending societies and the emergence of social and economic inequalities associated with migration to the Gulf. focusing on these issues.6 However. Scholars have explored the impact of workers’ remittances to their home countries. the Arab Gulf in general.2 Madawi Al-Rasheed historians trace the roots of these connections during the pre-oil period and highlight continuities and discontinuities in the region. and Saudi Arabia in particular. and local cultural and political responses to such links. it is usually in migration and demographic studies. which highlight dependence on foreign labour. Most existing literature on these two concepts draws on research conducted in the West (for example. Theoretical debates on globalization and transnationalism Research on the Arab Gulf is yet to contribute to the growing academic debate on globalization and transnationalism. The Islamic obligation to perform the annual pilgrimage to Mecca remains one of the most obvious connections between Muslims all over the world and the sacred territory in Saudi Arabia. When Gulf studies are mentioned. Some research identifies the importance of migration to the Gulf and its effect on the sending societies in Asia and the Arab world. London. an approach facilitated by in-depth study of recipients of religious funding from the Gulf. Since the 1970s.8 This research remains entangled in polemics relating to the transfer of human resources to the Gulf. Some research.
Introduction 3 labour force, prevents a balanced assessment of Gulf connections with the outside world.9 Local public discourse, now a regular feature of political speech, media coverage and indigenous research in the Gulf region, centres on the ‘dangers of al-awlamah (globalization)’, the ‘loss of authenticity’, and the ‘creolization of local Arab culture’, believed to be a consequence of dependence on foreign workers and increasing contact with the outside world.10 It is obvious that this debate reflects anxiety over local identity, increasingly defined as Arab.11 This is a function of the consolidation of recently created nation-states in a region where tribal identities, kinship relations and sectarian affiliation remain basic organizational principles underlying membership in the community, entitlement and responsibilities. Such local assertions are identified in anthropological literature as local manifestations of the ‘pursuit of certainty’ or ‘nostalgic resistance to globalization’.12 Others consider them a return to parochialism – itself a response to increasing cosmopolitanism and globalization – in societies where primordial identities, kinship relations, world-views and systems of knowledge are threatened by new communication technology, international commercial interests, global media and the rapid movement of ideas and people across national boundaries. Local Gulf discourse continues to portray globalization as a one-way process, describing it as both an onslaught on local tradition and an economic threat, leading to the transfer of wealth from the Gulf to the outside world.13 In the Gulf, behind the façade of the latest technology, the ultra-modern shopping malls, the mushrooming internet cafes and multinational fast-food chains, one encounters strong assertions of tradition rather than celebrations of hybridity and cosmopolitanism.14 Gulf states regularly pass legislation defining the differences between ‘nationals’ (muwatin) and ‘expatriates’. Debate tends to be heated, especially in discussions of the role of foreign domestic workers, who are placed at the heart of Gulf society, the family.15 On the surface, categories defining social boundaries seem too rigid to account for the historical and contemporary manifestations of Gulf cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, on the one hand, and ancient economic connections with the outside world, on the other. In the pre-oil era, the integration of so-called ‘foreign communities’ (for example, African slaves, Indian and Persian merchants, Zanzibaris, Baluchis, Yemenis, Hadhramis, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese Arabs and South Asians) in the economic and religious domains was remarkable, though it has not yet been fully researched.16 Distinctions between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ have assumed greater significance with the discovery of oil and the consolidation of welfare states eager to distribute lavish benefits to those who are defined as nationals, in return for loyalty.17 While empirical research in the Gulf itself is yet to inspire academic theorizing on processes of globalization and transnationalism, the region harbours an antiglobalization discourse similar to that adopted by certain groups and movements in the West, South America, Africa and Asia. That local public Gulf debates have now identified connections with the outside world as a threatening process is a function of both the magnitude and rapidity of social and economic change in
the region. Nation building did not take place over a long historical period;18 it was only in the second half of the twentieth century – and in some countries only in the last thirty years – that political institutions, education, economic infrastructures and definitions of local heritage began to emerge in the Gulf. In the twentieth century the territorial boundaries of Gulf states reflected British interests rather than local traditions and histories in an area characterized by fluid territorial claims and shifting alliances. Today Gulf states strive to distinguish themselves not only from each other but also from a wider Arab region. In 1981, six states came together to form a regional umbrella organization, the Gulf Cooperation Council, motivated by a perceived threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iran–Iraq War.19 While the prime focus of the GCC was security in the Gulf, its activities encompassed cultural, political, social and economic cooperation. Member states propagate al-hawiyyah al-khalijiyyah (Gulf identity) as a common ‘unifying bond’, while at the same time each country within the GCC strives to consolidate a unique tradition and national culture. Not surprisingly, the newly created GCC states have had many border disputes among themselves in the last fifty years, reflecting not only the arbitrary nature of territorial claims but also the fuzziness of social and cultural boundaries between them.20 Today there is a sense of urgency behind local attempts to consolidate political structures, inculcate tradition, forge a common identity, and define the physical and social boundaries of the newly created states. This is accompanied by an equally rapid incorporation in the world economy, brought about by the oil industry. The study of Gulf connections, the subject of this volume, requires a dialogue with scholarly work in global and transnational studies,21 described as a highly fragmented emergent field, still lacking both a well-defined theoretical framework and analytical rigour.22 Given this fragmentation, some argue that the field of transnational studies runs the risk of becoming an empty vessel.23 Moreover, scholars are in disagreement over whether global or transnational processes are old or new. It is clear, however, that connections between people, regions and world economies are well documented, albeit with different terminology – for example, network analysis, world systems and social and economic history.24 What distinguishes contemporary manifestations of connectedness is the increasing speed, intensity and time–space compression brought about by postmodernity.25 The originality of the new phenomena is the ‘high intensity of the exchanges, the new modes of transacting, and the multiplication of activities that require cross-border travel and contacts on a sustained basis’.26 While the study of contemporary connections invokes terms such as globalization and transnationalism, both remain polemical and fuzzy concepts. Eriksen uses the term ‘transnational flows’ because ‘whether it is ideas or substances that flow, or both, they have origins and destinations, and flows are instigated by people’.27 The earlier concept of globalization is, however, understood to refer to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole. Robertson argues that globalization cannot be adequately defined as ‘simply the compression (or implosion) of the world as a whole into
Introduction 5 singular entity’.28 At the other end of the spectrum, it is thought of ‘as a crisis of identity, a post modern blurring of boundaries, fragmentation, and decentredness which undermines the integrity and unity of the nation state’.29 Paradoxically, globalization in the Gulf region has not produced homogeneity so much as familiarization with greater diversity and the extensive range of local cultures. By invoking ‘crisis of identities’ and ‘intensification of consciousness’, globalization (in its economic, political, cultural and social manifestations) is linked to a state of mind, a kind of awareness difficult to measure. In some instances, such definitions tend to state the obvious: that we now live in a world of regular movement, intense exposure to the other and rapid communication to the extent that it has ‘become a cliché that we live in one world’.30 The empirical studies in this volume point to assertions rather than crises of identity in the Arab Gulf. Could these assertions be signs of an identity crisis, responses to increased connections with the outside world, as a result of which people retreat into primordial ties and essentialist definitions of the self ? It is difficult to invoke a cause-and-effect argument here. Rather, highlighting historical precedents and contemporary responses and outcomes of the phenomenon will capture the complexity and diversity of responses to what we now call globalization. In this volume, the historicization of global process offers an insight into the phenomenon. Furthermore, if globalization is to be defined as a one-way process, the momentum for which lies in one geographical region (Europe or the USA), a global centre, a cosmopolitan city, the headquarter of multinational conglomerate, then Gulf realities represent a challenge to the received wisdom.31 To move away from the focus on ‘identity’ and consciousness, both of which are ambiguous sociological concepts, Robertson identifies four major components underlying modern globalization: ‘national societies, individuals, the system of international relations, and humankind’.32 Such focus links so-called global actors to concrete social and international structures. A second, more popular, term now is transnationalism, often used interchangeably with globalization. While globalization is a process from above, the concept of transnationalism embodies activities and process from below. As such, transnationalism has become ‘something to celebrate, as an expression of subversive popular resistance “from below” ’.33 It is argued that three conditions are necessary to justify the use of this new concept: ‘first, a significant proportion of persons in the relevant universe, second, their activities are not fleeting or exceptional, but possess certain stability and resilience over time and third, the content of these activities is not captured by some pre-existing concept’.34 The processes described in this volume expand the field by offering examples of transnational activities that do not necessarily encompass these three conditions, yet they represent a kind of transnationalism which is a reflection of the historical and contemporary political, economic and social structures of Gulf societies. Hannerz argues that the term transnationalism is in a way more humble, and often a more adequate label for phenomena which can be of quite variable scale and distinction, even when they do share
Madawi Al-Rasheed the characteristics of being contained within a state. In the transnational arena, the actors may now be individuals, groups, movements, business enterprises, and in no small part it is this diversity of organisation that we need to consider.35
Transnationalism assumes that ordinary people engage in conscious and successful efforts to escape control and domination ‘from above’ by capital and the state.36 This begs the question whether transnationalism is a form of resistance to the expansion of capital and structures of encapsulation generated by this expansion. The Gulf material throws light on this question. The Gulf region has ancient connections with Africa and Asia.37 The people of central Arabia and the ports of the Gulf from Kuwait to Muscat travelled to the east coast of Africa, India and the Far East as merchants and religious scholars.38 At the same time traders from these territories established merchant houses in Gulf ports, which came under British influence in the nineteenth century.39 Dates, pearls and horses were exported from Arabia to Bombay.40 They appeared in markets as far away as London and New York. At the same time, the slave trade and the flourishing slave markets of Mecca, Muscat and central Arabia, which in some Gulf countries continued unofficially until early twentieth century,41 demonstrate the magnitude of Gulf connections and the commercial activities of its population. These connections have also led to Gulf societies themselves consisting of diasporas seeking economic opportunities. Historically, economic connections (especially on the Gulf coast) and religious connections (especially in Mecca) led to the establishment of overseas diasporas in the Arabian Peninsula which reached a climax with the discovery of oil and the need for international labour. Today some of those defined as citizens in GCC countries include Indians, Persians, Baluchis, Zanzibaris, Yemenis, Javanese and Hadhramis, whose connections with the Gulf pre-date the oil boom of the 1970s.42 Such groups have been ignored in early research on the Gulf, but in recent times their histories and experiences in the Gulf have begun to attract academic attention.43 The geographical location of the Gulf between the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Europe predisposed it to become a transit station for larger commercial flows in recent times. After the 1970s oil boom, as Gulf states and actors systematically entered the global field, they operated within well-established political and international structures. With a very limited number of exceptional cases, Gulf economic transnationalism functioned under the patronage of the state.44 The actors involved promoted localized economic interests. Dubai emerged as an international trading centre under the patronage of an indigenous political leadership and commercial elite, consisting of local Arab, Indian and Persian merchant families.45 Only in the last decade have we seen the beginning of a process whereby local ‘independent actors’, for example, a growing entrepreneurial elite, is promoting commercial interests without direct state control, but with sanction from ‘above’. GCC economies are still centralized and most sectors remain under state control. In such an environment, the state controls the distribution of franchises
including the transfer of funds and religious knowledge to distant Muslim communities. The latter challenge Gulf political discourses and religious interpretations. the majority operate with strong support from important members of the ruling and commercial elite. While some Gulf Islamic charities appear to be independent of state control. These are often members of the Muslim and Arab diasporas in distant locations. economic resources. combined with advanced communication technologies. both considered important actors in transnational flows.49 However. when Western policy makers and media specialists exposed links between religious transnationalism initiated in the Gulf. The Gulf case demonstrates that it is not the agencies of transnationalism – both Gulf states and actors – who are predisposed to engage in ‘counter-narratives’. namely the proliferation of Gulf-based Islamic charities and grass-root religious activism. developed by some of the contributors to this volume. allow a new kind of transnationalism. and the emergence of counter-narratives. political.47 Today Gulf economic. the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda and terrorism. Localizing the transnational Gulf societies have absorbed outside networks. Systematic transnational connections were promoted in the religious domain. cultural and religious transnationalism is a process heavily dependent on the mediation of other ‘hybrids’ and ‘Creoles’. which legitimizes state narratives while triggering off oppositional discourse among those it is meant to co-opt. These findings. which do not exist in substantial numbers. Gulf states encouraged religious transnationalism. citizens of the Gulf do not form immigrant communities outside the region. point to the fact that at present Gulf transnationalism is not necessarily dependent on Gulf diasporas. holidaymakers. economic. Nelida Fuccaro (chapter 2) and James Onley (chapter 3) are attempts to historicize transnationalism within the Gulf itself. a limited number of dissidents and political activists and other transit sojourners. which challenge Gulf political discourse. Anscombe questions the applicability of the concept of transnationalism as . cultural and social settings.Introduction 7 and licences to import labour and commodities. The unanticipated consequences of this kind of religious transnationalism have become controversial after the events of 11 September 2001. Another factor complicates the scene. Contributions by Frederick Anscombe (chapter 1). students. agencies and traditions within their local historical. It is difficult for independent actors to penetrate Gulf economies without strong connections with local government bureaucracies and important gatekeepers. For example. often members of the political elite. GCC states engaged in religious transnationalism among Muslim minorities in the West.48 With the exception of the business elite. in response to local attempts to establish political legitimacy inside GCC countries and abroad. but the historicized recipients.46 These connections led to the intensification of religious debate among the recipients of Gulf religious transnationalism. which in recent times has been difficult to control in the Gulf itself.
This case study highlights the interconnections between officialdom. A historical approach allows us to appreciate the changing local responses of people with transnational links. Successful merchant families whose genealogy lies elsewhere respond to local cultural traditions. people took up such jobs in return for protection.8 Madawi Al-Rasheed a useful tool to understand nineteenth-century eastern Arabia (Hasa). whose transnational connections spread across frontiers – reaching Hillah. He invokes the concept of an anational society to analyse how ‘transnational’ networks. themselves belonging to a cosmopolitan imperial elite. Mocha. by Mathias Diederich) illustrates the point. a region incorporated within the Ottoman empire in the 1870s. Transnational communities in Bahrain do not engage in the celebration of their ‘hybrid identities’. which brought religious scholars to the holy city of . Bombay and Manchester. brought about by Ottoman imperial expansion. Fuccaro discusses the meaning of transnational community in Bahrain. a response to Gulf political and social contexts. but insist on uniformity and homogeneity under the influence of a nation-state eager to promote national consensus by overlooking external influences and internal ethnic and religious divisions. by localizing their transnational connections. Their transnational connections were of great value to the British government. Manamah. Drawing on their educational and cosmopolitan background. where in recent times Persian migrants have downplayed their roots in the pursuit of social and economic integration. Hudaydah. Fuccaro highlights a novel dimension in the analysis of transnationalism. led to an ethnic and religious diversity in this area. people invent new categories of hybridity. Bushehr. In this volume historians point to the processes whereby localizing the transnational becomes a strategy. Muscat. played an important role as representatives whose activities led to the consolidation of an ethnically and religiously diverse society in Hasa. namely the processes of negotiation and contestation over urban space. Indonesian religious scholars residing in Mecca for generations gave themselves Arabic-sounding names to mask their ‘foreignness’. Basrah. As vulnerable merchants in the Gulf. members of this merchant family served the British government as political agents and assistants. but is also subject to reinvention and manipulation. Flows of people and commodities converge to contribute to the development of a multicultural society responding to local sources of authority and social legitimization. Islamic transnationalism. Fuccaro’s conclusions are confirmed by Onley’s study of the Persianized Arab Safar merchant family. Such processes have resulted in the emergence of discourses that do not celebrate ‘hybridity’. which celebrate Arab descent as a vehicle for citizenship. which resulted in their contributions to religious scholarship remaining unrecognized. trade and travel. genealogy remains a charter for identity and belonging. which by definition undermines their integration. In the Gulf context. Under changing socio-political circumstances. The case of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia (chapter 6. Ottoman governors. contemporary descendants downplay their transnational connections. Imperial encroachment was associated with increasing commercial penetration by outside forces. However.
oil. The Gulf-financed media industry creates ‘regional markets’ for the consumption of Gulf culture. the rapid appropriation of new information and communication technologies. Sometimes it is difficult to argue that these traditions are anchored in a specific locality. itself a hub of connections. Gaëlle Le Pottier (chapter 5) examines transnational media exchanges between the Gulf and Lebanon. as many of these are themselves products of interpretations and diverse influences. Asian. African and Arab economies. but to the diversity of the actors who engage in commercial activities. but its scope is now . the volume demonstrates processes whereby local traditions within specific Gulf historical contexts are exported to the outside world. which is increasingly showing common characteristics with other successful city-states. In the contemporary period. Localizing the transnational is a strategy adopted by the political elite to enhance the city’s commercial success. and second. a country whose nationals have played a major role not only as immigrants in the Gulf but also as mediators of Gulf economic interests abroad. Here Dubai’s prosperity is not linked to the homogeneity of a business class. advertising agencies and music and visual productions) are mostly financed by Gulf capital. which reproduce vulnerability and marginality in both Indonesia and in Saudi Arabia. connecting Western. Lebanese-based media industries (satellite television. the incorporation of diverse diaspora communities in the city. Local Gulf culture is now a second commodity. Dubai’s political elite capitalizes on these two factors to promote the city as an international free-trading zone. Unlike Bahrain.Introduction 9 Mecca. and promote further its role in both regional and international settings. entering the transnational field. Locally produced traditions undergo a transformation as they travel to other destinations. Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia face locally produced suspicion and discrimination against the background of state rhetoric which celebrates Islamic unity. Dubai’s commercial success is especially dependent on two factors: first. The experience of Indonesian immigrants is entangled with structures of power both at home and in the host society and socio-economic conditions. The increasing availability of Arab fadaiyyat (satellite television channels) worldwide and the growing Gulf capital involved is more likely to transnationalize local cultural products. for example Singapore. Its transmission is financed locally. Transnationalizing the local To understand the complexity of Gulf transnationalism beyond the Gulf itself. values and norms beyond the Gulf. The historical contributions in this volume demonstrate that invoking the ‘local’ in the Gulf is itself a problematic concept. a region which has so far been associated only with the export of a highly valued commodity. Roland Marchal (chapter 4) examines the concept of the ‘global city’ and its usefulness in analysing the transnational connections of Dubai. had to be localized in response to an indigenous system of signs which privileged local Arab culture. produced by non-Gulf actors. but such industries continue to be geared to the tastes and demands of the Gulf consumer audience. language and tradition.
and homogenized national culture. An outcome of the Gulf War in 1991 was the politicization of theological debates and the increasing blurring of boundaries between religion and politics. At the same time. increased transnationalism within the Gulf leads in some instances to asserting the authority of the state (Bahrain and Saudi Arabia). Divisions between those who support Saudi Arabia and those who oppose its policies. Both Al-Rasheed and Birt highlight that transnationalizing the local. itself an international event. Al-Rasheed highlights the dependence of such links on the mediating role of both Arab and Muslim diasporas. benefiting a wide circle of the local political and economic elite.e. Here transnationalizing the local leads to unanticipated responses. regarded by many British Muslims as detrimental to Muslim interests. First. systematic religious connections entered the transnational field. The latter are anchored in local contexts. Funding religious institutions and knowledge abroad generates intense debates. but as they flow beyond these contexts they tend to develop their own momentum. inter-state alliances and .10 Madawi Al-Rasheed reaching communities in the Arab world and in the West. i. In specific contexts. which are themselves a product of the new locality’s social. political and economic conditions. As such they escape the control of those initially engaged in their promotion. Through an analysis of the neoSalafi movement in Birmingham and London. heritage and tradition. can now threaten the status quo in Saudi Arabia and undermine the country’s credibility in the West. Examining Saudi religious outreach programmes in London. such forays into the wider world can turn into embarrassment. which threaten to destabilize foreign policy. have increased over the last decade. In the last decade. but is a function of the interaction of several factors. represented in the activities of Gulf states which aim to enhance credibility and legitimacy not only locally but also internationally. which not only challenge Saudi religious interpretations but also question Saudi political decisions and foreign policy on important issues. especially in the post-11 September period. there are instances of transnational connections used to promote commercial and entrepreneurial activities. Madawi Al-Rasheed (chapter 7) considers the consequences of transnationalizing Saudi local religious tradition in the pursuit of legitimacy. Birt argues that the Gulf War of 1990–1. Second. leading to international crises. Jonathan Birt (chapter 8) follows this line of analysis in his ethnography of British Asian Muslims. and among diaspora Muslims. there are unanticipated consequences of transnational movements. who maintain close connections with Saudi Arabia through religious educational programmes and the transfer of funds from both the state and Saudi charitable organizations. Three conclusions are drawn from the contributions to this volume. Al-Rasheed concludes that juxtaposing the local on the transnational is a complex process not subject to the logic of a monolithic interpretation. where Arab and Muslim diasporas remain eager to maintain links with a pan-Arab and panIslamic culture. led to schisms within the movement. there is a retreat from the ‘threat of cultural disorder’ into the security of localized identities. propagating Saudi religious interpretations overseas. At worst.
power relations and socio-economic hierarchies not easily dismantled or resisted. The common thread is flows and connections within the Gulf and beyond. Travelling cultures require travelling researchers.50 Limited time and research funds may slow the process whereby such an endeavour becomes a methodological requirement. The ‘multi-sited ethnography’ is now celebrated as a genre in early twenty-first-century ethnography. and the difficulties involved in delineating them as clear-cut categories. A monolithic model grounded in current polemics between those who generalize global economic patterns to account for other aspects of these interconnections – for example.g. the study of immigrants and diasporas). ‘global’ and ‘transnational’ are used throughout this volume. while at the same time prohibiting their full realization. if globalization is a top-down phenomenon and transnationalism is bottom-up. Some researchers capitalize on new information and communication technologies to overcome practical problems. Those who prematurely celebrate the end of the nation-state in an age of increasing global connectedness will be disappointed. I hope that the text attests to the complexity of the meanings behind them. Asia and Africa. working on similar topics in the United Kingdom. The above conclusions point to the importance of the historical moment in which both globalization and transnationalism take place and the uniqueness of the sites we call ‘local’ and ‘global’ in our search for fixed terminology with which to grasp fluid processes. teamwork within a large research project allows several academics to address a common theme in different localities. Fortunately. They take place within established structures – for example. Methodology It is increasingly common practice in ethnographic research to locate data in different sites. although terms such as ‘local’. time. the multiplicity of definitions given to them by local actors and academics. In fact. Moreover. In addition. such structures themselves can promote global and transnational connections.Introduction 11 contemporary international relations. This volume has allowed project participants to share their findings with a wider circle of academics. globalization and other related fields (e. The common thread was the flows and connections within the Gulf and beyond. The study of Gulf networks can sharpen the emerging theoretical literature on globalization and transnationalism. such phenomena can either undermine internal stability in a particular country (Saudi Arabia) or create new grounds for legitimacy and new opportunities for economic and social development (Dubai). especially on the part of scholars of transnationalism. and coming to terms with understanding more than one location. . including access. and political trends – and those who question their rationale does not fully encompass variations in scope. the Gulf material helps to revise a dichotomy. Third. the flow of social. according to Clifford. The conference on which this volume is based brought a wider circle of academics to share their findings. religious. because most connections are still not free-floating. which is perhaps grounded only in geography. legislation. state bureaucracy. magnitude and consequences of the phenomenon.
they are transformed in ways not intended by those who initiated the process. 1991). Middle East Report 27/3 (1997): 36–7. cultural.12 Madawi Al-Rasheed This volume is an attempt to overcome the difficulties of in-depth study in several locations. Dresch. ‘The Arabian Peninsula in Modern Times: A Historiographical Survey’. political and religious networks. R. Today the image of the Gulf as an oil-producing region does not fully capture the rapid transformations within this locality. Oxford. A. Bringing their contributions together in one volume allows an understanding of the movement of economic. Marchal. reflecting the region’s ethnic diversity. London. See G. Walls Built on Sand: Migration. While not all GCC countries are represented here. Notes 1 G. See M. 1997) ). Africa and Europe. The contributors have conducted their research either in the Gulf or in settings in which Gulf transnationalism manifests itself. Others focus on the diversity of the indigenous population (N. the Gulf is an exporter of capital. and ideas whose roots are no longer possible to locate. M. Al-Rasheed. Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 35/2 (2001): 175–87. the latest technology. Fuccaro. . Buttner (eds). Exclusion and Society in Kuwait (Boulder: Westview. which is still a valuable commodity. September 2001. scholars have been asking whether Gulf cities are truly Arab. ‘Debates on Marriage and Nationality in the United Arab Emirates’. September 2001) and debates relating to citizenship (P. J. Furthermore. At the same time. In addition to oil. I hope that this volume stimulates further research and cooperation among scholars working in a region that still assumes international significance because of its oil wealth and location at a crossroads between Asia. Birmingham. its image as an exporter of radical theology fails to capture the complexity of transnational exchanges within and beyond the Gulf. 2001). the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–8. A History of Saudi Arabia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 3 Since the early 1990s. Academic research on the Gulf followed international interest in this lesser-known part of the Arab world. American Historical Review 96/5 (1991): 1435–49. without the actual burden of dislocation. Beauge and F. the region remains an importer of immigrants. ‘Visions of the City: Urban Studies on the Gulf ’. Indonesia). Peterson. Les migrations dans le monde arabe (Paris: CNRS. ‘Transnational Connections and National Identity: Zanzibari Omanis in Muscat’. sociologists and political scientists) but also between scholars working in different times (historians) and spaces (Lebanon. both physically and intellectually. As these travel to distant locations. Al-Rasheed. 2002). paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf. Longva. economic skills. culture and religion. Equally. Oxford. ‘Bringing the Peninsula in from the Periphery: From Imagined Scholarship to Gendered Discourse’. Okruhlik. Only a few have been able to move between the Gulf and other sites for the purpose of ethnography. Dubai: cité globale (Paris: CNRS. this volume results from an interdisciplinary dialogue not only among Gulf specialists (anthropologists. the Gulf War of 1990–1 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 exposed the region to outside scrutiny. 2 The oil embargo of 1973. paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf.
13 In recent years. Kapiszewski. Rajan. Schampers and J. T. 45–61 at p. See Winckler. paper presented at a conference on Gulf Connections. Oxford. Seccombe and C. Omanization etc. 7 Saudi Arabia in particular documents its aid to Muslim countries. al-Mutawa. pp. Yamani.. ‘Labour Migration in the Arab Gulf States: Patterns. O. Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 13/3 (2002): 315–34. ‘UAE Newspapers and the Issue of Cultural Globalisation’. Winckler. Champion. Birks. Ouis. Oxford. tribal festivals – for example. the transfer of migrant remittances outside the Gulf is increasingly defined as problematic by Gulf states. 12 W. this is manifested in the uniformity of dress in the Gulf (M. the janadiriyyah event in Saudi Arabia – celebrate Arab bedouin heritage.Introduction 13 4 A. 150. Speckmann (eds). ‘Islamization as a Strategy for Reconciliation between Modernity and Tradition: Examples from Contemporary Arab Gulf States’. Languages of Dress in the Middle East (London: Curzon. 11 This is manifested in the increasing number of publications on Gulf folklore. bedouin heritage and tribal culture. Ingham (eds). 9 The indigenization of the labour force. but its attempt was met with resistance. More recently. 1997). ‘The Gulf Rentier System?’. paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf. Immigrants and Minorities 19/2 (2000): 23–52. It was clear from the heated debate that there were two opposing views: those who accepted domestic . 5 Migration patterns in the Gulf are compared to those in Israel. Turner (ed. manifested in bedouin poetry and material culture. September 2002. I. July 2001). Saudi Arabia tried to tax foreign workers. 2003). The Pursuit of Certainty: Religion and Cultural Formulations (London: Routledge. 15 The Qatar-based Al Jazeera television channel discussed foreign domestic workers in a daring programme (The Opposing Views. Canada and Australia. Piscatori. and R. Labour Migration to the Middle East: From Sri Lanka to the Gulf (London: Kegan Paul International. 8 See F. Khalaf. J. 6 J. 14 Among other things. Winckler. Winckler. which is part of its legitimacy narratives. The Paradoxical Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Momentum of Reform (London: Hurst & Co. E. P. in N. 268–78. p. ‘Globalization and Heritage Revival in the Gulf: An Anthropological Look at Dubai Heritage Village’. International Migration 26/3 (1988): 267–86. James. 1995). ‘The Challenge of Foreign Workers in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: The Case of Oman’. paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf. 10 M. P. O. ‘Syrian Migration to the Arab Oil-Producing Countries’.. ‘Social. September 2001. pp. See Al-Rasheed. O. especially by the Western expatriate elite working in the country. Zachariah. Trends and Prospects’. 57. Fargues. ‘The Challenge of Foreign Workers’. Eelens. Middle Eastern Studies 33/1 (1997): 107–18. ‘Managing God’s Guests: The Pilgrimage and the Politics of Saudi Legitimacy’. Robertson. September 2001. A History of Saudi Arabia. and K. Economic and Demographic Consequences of Migration on Kerala’. International Migration 39/2 (2001): 43–71. 5 September 2001). Oxford. Nationals and Expatriates: Population and Labour Dilemmas of the Gulf Cooperation Council States (Reading: Ithaca Press. 1992). ‘Evading the Habits of a Life Time: The Adaptation of Hijazi Dress to the New Social Order’. in B.). See Al-Rasheed. ‘After Nostalgia? Wilful Nostalgia and the Phases of Globalisation’. 2000). ‘The Diminishing of the Gulf Rentier System? The Challenge of GCC Labour Policies in the late 1990s’. 2001). pp. Sinclair. is part of all GCC states’ development plans. A History of Saudi Arabia. paper presented at a conference on Globalization and the Gulf. known as Saudization. Lindisfarne-Tapper and B. Générations arabes: l’alchemie du nombre (Paris: Fayard. Mathew and S. Exeter. 1990). Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity (London: Sage. 55–66) and attempts to define heritage (S. See Winckler. See also D.
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Hannerz. al-Sayegh. ‘A Trade Diaspora in Arabia’.cdi. Qisati ma natih al-sahab al-Walid bin Talal (London: al-Rafid. Fattah. A History of Saudi Arabia. 1908) on Indian (Hindu. 44 Saudi al-Walid ibn Talal created an international global business as an independent actor. Critique 11/1 (2002): 49–70 on the slave trade in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. whose genealogy is rooted in Yemen. They were given Saudi nationality. p. 1745–1900 (Albany: State University of New York Press. Another exception is Osama bin Laden. 46 See Centre for Defence Information: http://www. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. pp. Globalisation. Steinberg. 48 C. See also U. G. but was well integrated in Saudi Arabia. MA: Harvard University Press. Gulf exiles resort to advanced communication technology (for example. See C.Introduction 15 39 See H. Clifford. I. ‘Several Sites in One’. 1983).org/terrorism/saudi-pr. Awn. p. See M. International Migration 29/4 (1991): 500–21.cfm. 87. 47 A. 248. 1926–38’. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. ‘Urban History of Bahrain’. in Oman. 19. Hadhrami and Zanzibari communities for their armies and police forces. Awn. Enquête sur les ONG islamiques (Paris: Flammarion. ESRC project on Connection and Imagery: Transnational Culture Flows and the Arab Gulf. Sohar: Culture and Society in an Omani Town (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge. 1997) for connections between the Gulf coast and India. 49 Since the 1980s. ‘Impact of the Gulf War on Migration and Remittances in Asia and the Middle East’. Hindu merchant families controlled revenues from the port of Muscat for the sultan. ‘Indian Merchant Communities’. Bibliography Addleton. London has hosted a small number of Gulf exiles. Hutson. Allen. in Eriksen (ed. it became difficult for such groups to acquire nationality and citizenship rights in the majority of Gulf states. See Al-Rasheed. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 4/1 (1981): 39–53. for example Bahraini and Saudi Shi‘a. Barth. From the 1970s. 2001. ‘Enslavement and Manumission in Saudi Arabia. Fuccaro. ‘The Indian Merchant Communities of Masqat’. Al-Rasheed. 45 See F. 2000). ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society’. Notwithstanding their small numbers. Allen. 40 See J. Lorimer. ‘The Indian Merchant Communities of Masqat’. British statistics on Gulf exiles demonstrate that only a handful of political activists asked for political asylum in the UK over the last decade. C. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 4/1 (1981): 39–53. Oman and Central Arabia (Calcutta: Government Print House. 43 Al-Rasheed. 42 In Saudi Arabia in the 1920s several Arab notables played an important role as state functionaries. 2000. Similarly. 41 See A. See I. 2002). London: al-Rafid. p. F. ‘Deux prédécesseurs de Ben laden’. 50 J. Khojah and Muslim) merchant houses in eastern Arabia. . Arabia and the Gulf. Allen. ‘Transnational Connections and National Identity’. Both Qatar and the UAE depend on Baluchi. J. Critique Internationale 17 (2002): 35–43.). Qisati ma natih al-sahab al-Walid bin Talal. supporters of the imamate in Oman and recently Saudi Sunni Islamists. Salamandra. but he continues to operate under state sanction. 1997). unpublished report. 18–36. Middle Eastern Studies 34 (1986): 87–102 for the role of merchants in the UAE. ‘Gulf Transnationalism and Arab London’. Ghandour. the internet and satellite television) to reach a wide audience at home and abroad. Jihad humanitaire.
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James, W. The Pursuit of Certainty: Religion and Cultural Formulations, London: Routledge, 1995. Kapiszewski, A. Nationals and Expatriates: Population and Labour Dilemmas of the Gulf Cooperation Council States, Reading: Ithaca Press, 2001. Kearney, M. ‘The Local and the Global: The Anthropology of Globalization and Transnationalism’, Annual Review of Anthropology 24 (1995): 547–65. Khalaf, S. ‘Globalization and Heritage Revival in the Gulf: An Anthropological Look at Dubai Heritage Village’, paper presented at a conference on Globalization and the Gulf, Exeter, July 2001. Khalaf, S. ‘Gulf Societies and the Image of Unlimited Good’, Dialectical Anthropology 17 (1992): 53–84. Lombard, D. and Aubin, J. (eds). Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000. Longva, A. Walls Built on Sand: Migration, Exclusion and Society in Kuwait, Boulder: Westview, 1997. Longva, A. ‘Neither Autocracy nor Democracy but Ethnocracy: Citizens, Expatriates, and Socio-political Regime in Kuwait’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Lorimer, J. G. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia, 2 vols., Calcutta: Government Print House, 1908. McAlister, M. Epic Encounters: Culture, Media and US Interests in the Middle East, 1945–2000, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Marchal, R. Dubai: cité globale, Paris: CNRS, 2001. Markovits, C. The Global World of Indian Merchants, 1750–1947, Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Mintz, S. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History, New York: Viking, 1985. al-Mutawa, M. ‘UAE Newspapers and the Issue of Cultural Globalisation’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Okruhlik, G. ‘Bringing the Peninsula in from the Periphery: From Imagined Scholarship to Gendered Discourse’, Middle East Report 27/3 (1997): 36–7. Okruhlik, G. and Conge, P. ‘National Autonomy, Labour Migration and Political Crisis: Yemen and Saudi Arabia’, Middle East Journal 51/4 (1997): 554–65. Ouis, P. ‘Islamization as Strategy for Reconciliation between Modernity and Tradition: Examples from Contemporary Arab Gulf States’, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 13/3 (2002): 315–34. Peterson, J. ‘The Arabian Peninsula in Modern Times: A Historiographical Survey’, American Historical Review 96/5 (1991): 1435–49. Piscatori, J. ‘Managing God’s Guests: The Pilgrimage and the Politics of Saudi Legitimacy’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Portes, A., Guarnizo, L. and Landolt, P. ‘The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 22/2 (1999): 217–37. Al-Rasheed, M. ‘Transnational Connections and National Identity: Zanzibari Omanis in Muscat’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Al-Rasheed, M. ‘Deux prédécesseurs de Ben Laden’, Critique Internationale 17 (2002): 35–43. Al-Rasheed, M. A History of Saudi Arabia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Robertson, R. ‘After Nostalgia? Wilful Nostalgia and the Phases of Globalisation’, in B. Turner (ed.), Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity, London: Sage, 1990, pp. 45–61. Salamandra, C. ‘Gulf Transnationalism and Arab London’, unpublished report, ESRC project on Connection and Imagery: Transnational Culture Flows and the Arab Gulf, 2001. al-Sayegh, F. ‘Merchants’ Role in Changing Society’, Middle Eastern Studies 34 (1986): 87–102. al-Sharq al-awsat al-awlamah wa al-ilam, 4 April 2002. Smith, M. and Guarnizo, L. (eds) Transnationalism from Below, New Brunswick: Transaction, 1998. Steinberg, G. ‘A Trade Diaspora in Arabia: The Merchants of Unaiza (Qasim), 1850–1950’, paper presented at a conference on Gulf Connections, Oxford, September 2002. al-Turki, H. al-Thaqafah al-arabiyyah fi asr al-awlamah, London: Saqi Books, 1999. Vertovec, S. ‘Conceiving and Researching Transnationalism’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 22/2 (1999): 447–62. Wallerstein, I. The Modern World System, New York: Academic Press, 1974. Winckler, O. ‘The Challenge of Foreign Workers in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: The Case of Oman’, Immigrants and Minorities 19/2 (2000): 23–52. Winckler, O. ‘The Diminishing of the Gulf Rentier System? The Challenge of GCC Labour Policies in the Late 1990s’, paper presented at a conference on Gulf Connections, Oxford, September 2002. Winckler, O. ‘Syrian Migration to the Arab Oil-Producing Countries’, Middle Eastern Studies 33/1 (1997): 107–18. Wolf, E. Europe and the People without History, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982. Yamani, M. ‘Evading the Habits of a Life Time: The Adaptation of Hijazi Dress to the New Social Order’, in N. Lindisfarne-Tapper and B. Ingham (eds), Languages of Dress in the Middle East, London: Curzon, 1997, pp. 55–66. Zachariah, K., Mathew, E. and Rajan, S. ‘Social, Economic and Demographic Consequences of Migration on Kerala’, International Migration 39/2 (2001): 43–71.
Historical reflections on Gulf transnationalism
the residents of Hasa. Saudi. large group of people. so dominant has the ideal of the ‘nation’ become in the global political system.2 The strongest elements of identity in eastern Arabia. they were neither widespread nor deeply rooted. These are basic tools needed to spread. Eastern Arabia in the late Ottoman period was a land of the latter type of imagined. because the term implies the existence of ‘national’ sentiments and barriers which must be overcome. No genetic code impels anyone to believe that his well-being depends upon that of a specific. but ties of blood. communities. only reinforced this aspect of Arabian society. among other things. The propagation of such an odd belief demands the extension of literacy and common access to schooling according to a standard curriculum. an anational society. It is difficult to imagine such a society in the contemporary world. Anscombe To label eastern Arabian society of the late nineteenth century as ‘transnational’ would be rather misleading. With exposure to the new creed of nationalism and to the mechanisms of its propagation severely limited. in spite of decades of modernization schemes. economic pursuit and locality generally came far above nationality (whether Arab. defined through the well-developed. or anything similar) in the hierarchy of allegiances. nation-building propaganda.1 An anational society Eastern Arabia in the Ottoman period Frederick F. the vast majority of whom will never meet each other. That the anti-nationalist Ottoman empire itself had not become a truly secular state. as happened most notably in the pre-national age in keeping alive for centuries the idea of the community of believers in the three great monotheistic faiths. however. thus. in effect. and who in most cases supposedly share a history or descent of which none can claim any personal experience. To some degree regular lectures by a critical mass of preachers can be an effective substitute means of incorporating people into the imagined group. religion. or imaginable. religious faith held firmly to its venerable place in the overall hierarchy of identities among the population. Qatar and Kuwait carried an array of identities. . As is the case with any population. were naturally those that came from each person’s daily experiences: blood ties of clan and tribe. This was. Yet it is easy to ignore today the degree to which full membership in the ‘imagined community’1 of any nation depends upon learned behaviour. in order to persuade the initiates to discover and adopt the principles of the community. If any such identities and limits existed in that place and time.
Since those interests in eastern Arabia were relatively limited (maintaining peace in the province. against the mutasarrıf (sancak governor). economic activity. however. The examination of Arabian society presented here draws heavily upon an unusual. . Iran. economic or political patronage. and towards the end of the Ottoman period in Arabia. the population faced growing difficulties in maintaining their meaningful links to other lands. the Red Sea. the Ottoman administration permitted free movement within the bounds of the empire and generally allowed the inhabitants of Arabia to maintain their strong ties with lands and peoples throughout the region – lands and peoples which have since been transformed into foreign states and nations. Bahrain. raising revenues and preventing the extension of European. Anscombe arcane lore of genealogy. Under the Ottoman flag. Iranian and Wahhabi influence).5 This file details charges of official misconduct levelled by the military commander of Necd. around 1900. be it a village. While it would be preferable to avoid use of the term ‘transnational’ on these specific grounds. Baluchistan and India. such a choice should not suggest that Arabian society was thoroughly atomized. Such diversity was indeed practically inevitable in any territory incorporated directly into the Ottoman system. Abdülhamid Bey. because issues of parochial importance were naturally addressed at the local level. These old ties would then be hard pressed to survive intact the growing global dominance of the nation-state system after the First World War. bound eastern Arabia to Iraq. which had survived for six centuries by applying to imperial interests resources offered by each segment of its extraordinarily varied population. This paucity of documentation gives those few sources that are available an extraordinary value. Among these various bases of identity there was little need or room for the national – and hence no place for transnationalism.22 Frederick F. East Africa. based upon commercial partnerships and the quasi-guild structure of trades. Sketches of society Ottoman records in Istanbul provide the most detailed information available about many facets of eastern Arabian history in the pre-First World War period. and locale. Said Pasha. Oman. the population of eastern Arabia increased in religious and ethnic diversity. in particular. The routine records kept by the administrators of the sancak (sub-province) of Necd4 (which comprised Hasa and Qatar) unfortunately have not survived or are not readily accessible. This is hardly surprising. a quarter in Hufuf or a port town such as Qatif. insular or insulated. Growing Ottoman concerns about security threats eventually led the government to play a more intrusive role in trade. as imperial rule brought both officials and fortune-seekers from afar. but the documents nevertheless rarely give more than occasional hints about the minutiae of daily life in ordinary society (although references to trade matters are a little less uncommon). bulky dossier preserved in the Istanbul archives.3 Trade. as well as to Najd in the Arabian interior. bonds of social.
however. paled in comparison to the detailed accusations made by Abdülhamid Bey in 1900. the . however. His previous appointment to Necd had ended in dismissal on charges of maladministration. and he had also had extensive administrative experience in other districts. Turkish and Persian. Religious groups On the topic of religion in what is now Saudi Arabia. thereby increasing the ability of bedouin tribes to defy government attempts to keep the peace. tampering with the justice system and malfeasance in taxation. Within these papers lie hints of variegations present in society and in relations between different groups and the government. the two main oasis areas of the Necd sancak. he had held a series of posts elsewhere in Basrah and Baghdad provinces. Lesser charges included nepotism. fluent in Arabic. the majority of the villagers living outside Hufuf and Mubarraz were either Shi‘a or Hanafi. While bedouin vs. Among the charges the most serious were that Said had permitted gunsmugglers to flourish. schooled in a medrese. includes material related to the investigation of all allegations. A native of Mosul. This got him into trouble on occasion.An anational society 23 Said Pasha had twice served as mutasarrıf of Necd before this unfortunate tour of duty. more interesting for the purpose of sketching the obscure outlines of society were identifications by place of origin and religion. settled was one obvious marker of differentiation in society. Said was something of a relic from an earlier age. ecumenical flavour. society appeared to have a relatively cosmopolitan. an Ottoman official who was not completely averse to ignoring administrative rules in situations where they seemed to offer little practical benefit.7 Even those aware of the continued existence of a significant Shi‘a population in the Eastern Province would probably not know of any further significant religious divisions or classifications within the population. visited the region following its reconquest in 1871. however. and that he had divulged state secrets to Qasim al-Thani. the vali of Baghdad and the driving force behind the Ottoman reoccupation of eastern Arabia. and in a number of Anatolian provinces over the course of five decades. in Hawran.6 He seems to have done well in most of these positions. but he was subsequently vindicated. as were many in and around Hufuf. Those vague charges. Yet. The Istanbul dossier. he noted for Istanbul’s benefit the religious make-up of Hufuf–Mubarraz and Qatif. as those provincial officials who made the charges failed to deliver any meaningful evidence of harm done. According to Midhat. These could be considered lesser issues only because they did not immediately threaten the state’s ability to keep both unruly tribes and such external threats as the British at bay. In the towns. in the Ottoman period.8 When Midhat Pasha. the troublesome administrator of the Qatar district. even well-read members of the general public today would be surprised to hear that the people were not always (and indeed are still not) monolithically Wahhabi (as the followers of the Sa‘udi form of extreme Hanbalism are termed). The overwhelming majority of people in Qatif were Shi‘a.
Ali Mansur – perhaps a significant change from the pre-Ottoman Wahhabi period.24 Frederick F. place of residence and employment. that there might have been collusion in the gun-smuggling between a Hanbali merchant and the Shi‘i customs collector. but it nevertheless appeared to fit well into Ottoman Hasa’s society. Said Pasha’s accuser. for example. Shafi‘i or Maliki. for example.12 Whether Abdülhamid’s allegation was accurate or not. When officers questioned Said formally about Abdülhamid’s charges. while the shaykh of another east of the town was a Maliki. while also certainly having little reason to trust the Wahhabis. most having moved from Baghdad. Abdülhamid Bey. was that the sancak’s paymaster kept his records in Hebrew.15 At the end of the nineteenth century some 34 Jews had settled in Hasa.9 While Midhat seems to have exaggerated the presence of Hanafis in order to stress the potential natural linkages between the Ottoman government and the Hasawi population. Mehmed Sabit was a member of the Alusi family of Baghdad. The investigators seem to have had some suspicion. the customs collector himself. perhaps having come initially as government employees. it encouraged immigration by foreign fortune-seekers. were Shafi’is from Hufuf. Anscombe majority were Hanafi. when the strict Hanbali Sa‘udis appear to have made life very difficult for Hasa’s Shi‘a. was a Wahhabi. Perhaps this relaxed attitude resulted from the apparently minimal Wahhabi–Sa‘udi threat to Ottoman authority at the time. including some who added a distinctly new flavour to society. claimed that the judge in Hufuf under Said. although they did ask about other affairs involving the judge. Several agents of the customs tax collector. an ad hoc council of local officials interrogated a number of Ottoman officers and Hasawi civilians.10 In its investigation of a case of smuggling guns from Qatar. One reason why Hasa’s accounts were so muddled in the early 1880s. hints of the general accuracy of his report are found in the Said Pasha investigation records. were asked not just for name. ignorant of both the shari‘ah and Ottoman secular law. which effectively prevented any auditor from checking them without his assistance. was a Ja‘fari Shi‘i from Qatif.13 Ottoman rule in Hasa brought not just judges and other officials from distant lands. A certain Yahudi Hoca Davud Santub from Baghdad owned a bakery which ¸ . in particular those of modest status. which indeed produced several noted salafi ‘ulama’ in this era. Their employer. with a few Wahhabis remaining after the Sa‘udi withdrawal.14 At least a few Jews lived in Hufuf by the end of the 1870s.11 The Ottoman government itself. The shaykh of one village north of Hufuf was also a Ja‘fari. seems to have tolerated them to a surprising degree. they did not raise this point. as were his partner and his chief assistant. but also for madhhab. while another agent was a Maliki from the same town. Some of those questioned. or allegiance to. Seyyid Mehmed Sabit. That other members of the Alusi family were known not to have overclose dependence upon. it is notable that his reference to the judge as a ‘Wahhabi’ seemed to arouse so little official interest. the Sa‘udis may also have aided Mehmed Sabit’s reputation. even if he were indeed salafi or Hanbali. moreover.16 The Jewish community formed a fairly recognizable and distinct group. Several Hanbali shop-owners and porters from Hufuf were also among those interviewed.
Perhaps more eye-opening than this evidence of a thriving Jewish community in what is considered a bastion of conservative Islam is a hint of some Christian presence in Hufuf. or tax-farming right.An anational society 25 supplied the troops in Hufuf with bread – and may well have been one of the places in the town where those so inclined might find a drink. Occasionally Ottoman officials sent rather vague warnings to Istanbul that Christian missionaries. Davud thought (mistakenly) that ‘Abdullah had killed another member of the Jewish community who had disappeared that day shortly after being seen with ‘Abdullah. They had their longest-lasting success in Bahrain. were at work along Arabia’s coast. we have less ¸ suspect evidence that. and Davud was demanding blood for blood.22 Other visitors may have included Zaydi Shi‘a . calling literally for blood.m. but his public life apparently extended beyond taxation. but for a time Indian traders attempted to maintain residences in Qatif. in which he employed at least several other Jews. also members of the Jewish community. His followers included not just four or five other Jews but also a sergeant of the gendarmerie. In addition to the various religious groups that were represented among the permanent residents of Hasa.00 a. however. The most important of these would be the Hindu and Zoroastrian traders from India who tried to establish communities on the Arabian side of the Gulf. This in itself gave him a high profile in the community. Hasa was not completely isolated from contact with Christianity. indeed. it seems that Davud in this case was acting as the spokesman and protector of the Jews of Hufuf. in the old tribal tradition.18 It was an overreaction to a fairly ordinary occurrence. the property had since entered clearly into a state of decay. Doha and other ports on the mainland where the pearl trade flourished. Not only ¸ did he own the bakery. to collect excise and other taxes during the year preceding the gun-smuggling incident. Davud Santub built his bread bakery on the property of a ¸ certain Christian (Armenian?) named Altun. because this evidence of a Christian presence in Hufuf in the 1870s is both unexpected and intriguing. At 3. on 8 December 1899. ‘Abdullah Abu Julayja. backed by the British in India. who had been arrested the previous night for threatening with a revolver the watchmen who had refused to open one of Hufuf ’s gates for them after hours. but perhaps Davud was influenced by the disappearance of two of his bakery employees. who bore the unlikely name of Yahudi Murad. Davud reportedly appeared with a group of men outside the house of a perfumer and merchant.17 Davud Santub.20 The absence of such records is lamentable. Another person from whom one could get alcohol was the local meyhaneci.21 In this case of Davud Santub’s bakery. but those claims generally could be attributed to officials’ desire to catch Istanbul’s attention by raising such a sensitive topic. there were of course followers of other religious traditions who visited eastern Arabia for shorter periods. who had died some twenty years earlier. and the local administration had no relevant records on it. both local and foreign born. because Altun had no heirs. Said’s administration allowed Davud to seize and develop it. however. was the leading figure among Hasa’s Jews.19 Be that as it may. but he also had won the iltizam.
When asked about the guns. both in the Hijaz and in eastern Arabia.23 Although such politically charged contacts were no doubt of relatively limited scope. during the crucial hours in which the recently discovered contraband weapons disappeared.26 . He had come to Arabia as Said Pasha’s slave. in the case of the Zaydis. there existed other paths of contact between native-born Hasawis and other Muslims who. through which pilgrims passed from the east on their way overland to Mecca.24 It is surprising. opposite Yemen on the Red ¸ Sea. Surur claimed to be 27 years old but had no idea of his father’s name. Geographic horizons of society Throughout the Ottoman period. She had been the property of the late müdir of the town of Mubarraz. who reportedly sent emissaries to establish contacts among the leaders of Qatif ’s Ja‘fari Shi‘a community during the early twentieth century. she continued to work for his three sons. the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. and that the population of eastern Arabia included a significant number of slaves. During his interrogation. trade. and she asked the government for help. Ali Mansur. through the hajj to the Hijaz. he was asked not only to identify himself but to define his relationship to Said Pasha. A female slave or concubine born in Habes . when the Ottoman government faced determined resistance to its administration in Yemen. Following his death during a fight in Qatar. did come often from distant lands in this pre-national age. who had procured her some eighteen years earlier. travel and officialdom offered frequent opportunities for Hasawis to maintain a network of links to peoples and lands bordering the Gulf.25 That Said knew of the empire’s efforts to restrict slavery is shown in another case. however. declared her a free woman. which served as a court of first instance. never to be seen again. they were reinforced regularly by trade contacts and. He continued to live in Said’s house.26 Frederick F. in accordance with rules on African slave-girls/concubines issued by Istanbul in an imperial decree. he was implicated by the presence of his black slave. The administrative council of Necd. but Said had just given him his freedom. She claimed that they had recently begun to abuse her most foully. petitioned the government for aid. primarily of African origin. The hajj was the most obvious route to contact with other Muslims. In addition to the hajj. although perhaps not differentiated by any significant divide of religion. or irade – a decision with which Said seemed perfectly comfortable. to discover that Ottoman officials themselves owned slaves. It has long been known that Ottoman efforts to end slavery and the slave-trade in the empire in the nineteenth century did not extend with much vigour to the Arabian territories. Anscombe from Yemen. One of the largest foreign-born groups in Hasa was one that often tended to be overlooked: slaves. however. although he now worked as a salaried secretary to the excise tax mültezim. Surur denied all knowledge of them. Surur. which suggests that he perhaps had been enslaved as a child. In the gun-smuggling incident that led to Said Pasha’s dismissal from office.
The second reason for the common presence of Iraqis in Hasa was that the military detachments in Arabia were part of the Sixth Army Corps. to those of much more modest. whose owner was a poor. either on Said’s own behalf or at the wish of a member of his family.and low-level government representatives appear to have come from the provinces of Baghdad. Before the man departed for the Hijaz. which might not have been radically different from those found in Mosul during his youth. which might explain why the deceased owner’s sons were so upset over the court’s award of manumission. a position which existed only on paper. as indeed happened in 1874. from those of great importance. and then served as chief secretary on the Necd court of appeals31). The Necd gendarmerie was a particularly interesting organization. which was headquartered in Baghdad and drew most of its troops from Iraq. local importance (such as Halaf Efendi.An anational society 27 Yet Said himself continued to participate in the active slave-trade which survived throughout Arabia. unemployed former servant of the judge Mehmed Sabit. Said seemed able to adjust easily to Hasawi practices. such as that of judge (the Baghdadi Seyyid Mehmed Sabit). becoming accustomed to the practices and attitudes of a constant stream of officials coming from other Ottoman provinces. must have been quite valuable by comparison. Hasawi society itself was no doubt changing. The greatest number of both high.29 The Habes i slave-woman. the sancak of Necd was incorporated into either the Baghdad or the Basrah province throughout its time under direct Ottoman rule. when tribal levies sent from Muntafiq in Iraq to put down a revolt in Hufuf carried off daughters of townspeople to be concubines.32 Once sent to Hasa.28 That slave concubines were very common and thus relatively inexpensive seems to be confirmed by a case involving another concubine. who was thrown in prison for attempted burglary. who before 1893 was müdir of ‘Udayd in Qatar. and the provincial capitals had many of their own locally recruited men who could fill positions.50).30 Yet the presence of slaves and former slaves born in distant lands was so common that it stirred little comment. later accused the mutasarrıf of trying to cheat the hajji of the price of the slave.27 and in 1899 one such hajji brought back two female slaves. Abdülhamid Bey. There were two good reasons for this predominance. Basrah and Mosul (which for reasons of brevity we can call collectively Iraq). Said Pasha had commissioned him to bring back a slave-girl. who were deemed more reliable than the Afghans and Baluchis who dominated the Basrah gendarmerie.£22. a Tayy tribesman from Basrah. Hasawis who went on pilgrimage often bought goods in the Hijaz to sell upon their return. estimated to be worth approxi¸ mately £36. as in other ways. Said disputed Abdülhamid’s charge of getting the girl without paying. unlike . because from the early 1870s it relied heavily on Kurdish recruits. The taking of slaves from any sector of eastern Arabia’s native population would arouse strong emotions. In this. but he readily admitted to having bought her for the price demanded. even when the highest local representatives of the state condoned or participated in a practice which the government was trying to restrict. volunteer gendarmes tended to stay for open-ended tours of duty. First. Said Pasha’s nemesis. even though it was considered to be rather high for the slave in question. 250 riyals (c.
for example. He was dismissed from practically every post. The most promising students from throughout the empire completed their studies in the elite schools of Istanbul. he no doubt brought a wealth of foreign experiences and attitudes with him. it might be imagined that the military men coming from other parts of the empire lived in relative isolation from the local populace. a native of Berat in Albania. for various misdeeds. while he was there. and had held civil and military appointments in Sivas.38 Even those who did not study in Istanbul could expect to serve in a geographically diverse series of posts. such as the medrese attended by Said Pasha. In 1876. Anscombe the drafted soldiers of the regular army. For a few of these there is indisputable · information available regarding birthplace and career. for instance. as the 25 years served there by one officer involved in the Said–Abdülhamid dispute attests. and were then dispatched to every province to apply newly standardized laws and regulations. however. Some of this cosmopolitan training and outlook had to affect the local populations with which civil officials dealt every day. Ibrahim Fevzi Pasha (mutasarrıf 1894–6) was born in Sivas in Anatolia.34 Although Ottoman rule thus brought an influx of people from Iraq. they did not enjoy any monopoly on postings to Hasa. Baluchis and other ‘unreliable’ types from Basrah managed to find a place in the Necd gendarmerie. Syria and Yemen before arriving in Hasa.33 In the gun-smuggling case the investigators interviewed as a witness a mounted gendarmerie private named Kerkuklu Mahmud. whose name and rank suggests that Kurds were continuing to volunteer for service in Hasa 30 years after the re-establishment of Ottoman control.37 These and other non-Hasawi administrators represent an important feature of life in the Ottoman empire which still tends to be ignored today: the state was not the monopoly of ethnic Turks. At least a few of the Afghans. Anatolia and the Balkans. Whereas the civil officers of the state in Arabia inevitably had continuing contact with a wide array of Hasawis. brought them into regular contact with the trading . The nineteenth-century reform programmes undertaken to stave off imperial collapse under external pressure and internal ferment attacked particularism and provincial isolationism. moving from the Balkans to Anatolia to Lebanon. Future bureaucrats received a ‘modern’ education which was much more ‘worldly’ than that offered in traditional schools. entered government service.36 The mutasarrıf in 1908–9 was Mahmud Mahır Bey. where he sharpened his command of Arabic. He had served in a series of teaching and administrative posts. Their policing duties. a British naval officer met a gendarmerie sergeant in Doha who was a native of Peshawar.28 Frederick F. of which nationalism was the most noted example. since they weakened the central state and created fresh opportunities for foreign intrigue and dangerous domestic -isms. Both government service and the experience of living under Ottoman administration promoted a certain cosmopolitanism in officials and provincial populations alike.35 Among civil officials a number came to Hasa from posts elsewhere in the Mediterranean and Red Sea Arab provinces. but there were indeed ample opportunities for interaction. He did not last long in Hasa but. as in the case of Said Pasha.
hides and ‘abah cloaks. where customs officers could record goods. Hence its dependence on trade.An anational society 29 community. It is difficult to determine accurately the volume or value of trade in eastern Arabia. Imports consistently exceeded exports. without being trans-shipped in Bahrain. textiles. and the importance of long-distance trade for the Gulf cannot be doubted now.43 Ottoman government documents do contain a number of such passing references to trade which can be used to elaborate on the local features of the system sketched by other researchers. but no British consuls or other recording observers resided in Hasa in the Ottoman period. merchants were among the wealthiest and most influential members of society. moreover. horses. because they took time to assemble. wealthy – than many other parts of Arabia. including rice. in particular.40 As is well known from studies in nationalism. Although Hasa’s plentiful water supplies made it far more self-sufficient – indeed. In this and so many other ways.000 in the late 1880s.42 It is also true that our knowledge extends only as far as the sources permit it to go.41 Because of the importance of trade to Hasa’s well-being. interaction occurred in the barracks. One incident brought to the attention of those investigating Said was an unresolved violent assault upon a local recruit. at least in part due to the devolution of customs collection to mültezims who held their authority for only one year. at best. One of the very few estimates of the total annual income from the sale of Hasa’s produce given by an Ottoman official is c. pearls. Large caravans were relatively easy to control to a degree. metals and weapons. The British records are the best for the Gulf waters as a whole. the settled population of eastern Arabia had constant reminders of strong official and social links with people of different backgrounds from throughout the empire and the western Indian Ocean littoral. especially during Said Pasha’s tenure in office. it was generally poor in other useful natural resources. Basic goods. camels. that relatively few of Hasa’s imports or exports were exchanged directly with India. but difficult to regulate or measure. Trade ties with a wider world Dependence on long-distance trade for the Hasawi community’s fundamental well-being reinforced the idea that it was a full participant in an economic and cultural network extending far over the horizon. The main exports from Hasa were dates. An accumulating body of published work has sketched out basic outlines of this regional commerce. sugar. Ahsalı Abdullah – whose sergeant had the distinctly non-Arab name of Ghulam. accessible records. It is probable. donkeys. Overland commerce was continuous. With so much merchandise spread around as . service in the military is one of the most effective means of breaking down local particularism or parochialism.£225. On a more basic level. Ottoman records are patchy. and the gendarmerie certainly must have played that role in Ottoman Hasa. because so little of the commerce was subject to the authority of states which have left detailed. coffee. had to be imported. as Hasawis entered the gendarmerie ( just as others entered the civil administration39). and high in volume.
the remainder from Kuwait. vegetables. the Hijaz and East Africa. livestock Textiles/clothing/boat oils Value a (£) 48. however.1).600 4. at least of annual imports. 100 by foreigners).000 9.800 2.47 These three entrepôts traded extensively with ports throughout the Gulf and to a lesser but still steady degree with more distant lands. It gives a total of pearling boats of 335 and of general trading boats of 133 (33 owned by Qataris. dating from 1891 (see Table 1. Bahrain and Qatif From India From Iran Primarily from Iran Note a The values given on the statistical sheet are in Persian krans. the threat of bedouin raids made it much safer for the merchants to prepare their loads under the walls of one of the gendarmerie’s guardposts.200 800 600 320 Place of origin From Oman and Iran Two-thirds from Iran.45 Doha and Kuwait supplemented these ports in significant ways. fruits. Hasa had two ports which were monitored closely. once again the valuable statistics sheet of 1891 gives specific examples.30 Frederick F.48 In its assessment of the value of trade passing through Qatar. through which most of Hasa’s seaborne imports and exports passed. In the late 1880s the residents of Qatif owned an estimated three hundred boats. Yemen. but both of them were too far from Hufuf to be used for trade in bulky goods. Before the caravan set out. ‘Uqayr and Qatif. 1891 Commodity Rice Wheat Sugar Barley Coffee Tobacco Petroleum oil Clarified butter Wood and paper Firewood and charcoal Grains. for which one relatively detailed set of statistics exists. used for pearling and trade.44 Yet given the impossibility of patrolling adequately all of the surrounding land and the coasts. In this sense it was much like Doha. Lacking Qatif ’s water resources. such as India. the excise mültezim and a few gendarmes would inspect the loads.000 1.1 Imports through Qatar. which have been converted according to the formula 25 krans £1. through pearling and trade. Anscombe the caravan took shape. looking for contraband. ‘Uqayr had once been a booming town but had never really recovered from a series of bedouin attacks before the arrival of the Ottomans in 1871. Table 1. the town’s remaining inhabitants had to depend directly on the Gulf waters for their survival.46 No estimate of the number of boats at ‘Uqayr is readily available but may have been roughly comparable. the smuggling of smaller loads was easy. .
or they had family connections among the tribes and in the Najdi interior (in this case Kharj).53 The presence of foreign traders in eastern Arabia and the wealth of Hasawi merchants such as Mansur give some signs of the great value of commerce in the region. suggesting that dates from Qatif and Hufuf were exported to the Hijaz. both the expatriate merchants in eastern Arabia and the numerous Hasawis who made their livings through commerce. Iran and India. two former peasants and a man who had had many jobs.55 Some of the reputed weapons-smugglers themselves travelled great distances. but one of the striking features of the documents concerning the investigation of Said Pasha is their evidence of participation in trade by so many Hasawis of quite modest background. as socially. in spite of Qatif ’s greater ability to grow its own food.54 Even such men of modest means who arranged the procurement and sale of the weapons had connections stretching across great distances: they had a brother or other relative who resided in an unsupervised landing spot. was an extremely wealthy Shi‘i trader who on more than one occasion was regarded with suspicion. an elderly camel-driver from Hufuf. going either into the Arabian interior or offshore. falling into a fight with an Arab tribesman.An anational society 31 It is unfortunate that no exports are listed. including camel-man and peasant. it was a networked region. Merchants from Baghdad. Basrah. Economically. General information from British Indian sources confirms this. and from the Hufuf bazaar a muleskinner-turned-trader and several shop-owners.49 As might be expected. the manager of Sultan Abdülhamid II’s properties around Qatif. The beginning of the end This interconnected region saw the structure of its networks begin to break down in the first decades of the twentieth century. In the weapons-smuggling case. as well as to Bahrain. because of his widespread and ‘dangerous’ foreign contacts. and even physically harassed.500 in the riots in Hufuf in 1874. This change was probably inevitable. the gunrunners included one Bani Hajir tribesman who was employed by the state as a postal courier. Basrah and other places lost goods worth £1. A statistical sheet for Qatif or ‘Uqayr would differ from this list of imports in some details. another who owned a camel and hired himself out as a guide for hajjis or for goods transport. to Bahrain or as far as Bombay. The excise agents who found the guns included a sometime camel-man and greengrocer.52 Among the Hasawis Mansur Pasha. where the demand for modern guns was insatiable. presumably because there was little to trade beyond pearls. there are occasional references in Ottoman documents to those who managed this import–export trade. which prompted an Ottoman gendarmerie patrol to beat both men.50 During Said Pasha’s last term five traders from Iran. described as ‘gypsies’.56 These small traders were probably typical of others who dealt with more legitimate goods. but the overall picture of distribution of trading partners and the products most in demand would probably apply to them too. were imprisoned on charges of making and distributing foreign and counterfeit coinage in Qatif. such as any port in Qatar or Kuwait.51 Another Iranian trader ran into trouble in Doha in 1898. Oman. .
however. Anscombe as the rapid evolution of technology and political order brought tremendous pressures upon more traditional structures of life throughout the world. The excise tax iltizam quickly became one of the main pillars of the treasury.61 The government also refused to accept proposals to create and sell a concession for the pearl trade in the Gulf. and zekât (Ar. for example. What was different in the Ottoman Gulf territories was the state’s oversensitivity to threats. even most. it is striking that one question the authorities posed to all the Hasawis interviewed was. They also naturally monitored the border with Iran closely. perhaps. of those discovered.57 In the investigation of the gun-smuggling incident. both of their sensitivity to external threats and of their recognition of Hasa’s links to foreign lands. If a trader were caught trying to avoid the excise agents.63) Such a system stifled rather than promoted . in spite of holding a tax receipt from Basrah. the main concern of the government was the security of the state. but it certainly was not the only compelling reason for the state’s interest. The Ottoman government was reluctant to move away from the regime designed and proclaimed by Midhat Pasha in 1871. The desire to tap the wealth flowing from trade was undoubtedly an important consideration. was maintained in the teeth of strong opposition and in spite of the likelihood of unfair application. or ös ür (Ar. A merchant importing goods from India. for any state or sentient being’s first priority is self-preservation. might have to pay customs in Basrah. because it would harm the interests of the local population and thus arouse opposition. and Ottoman citizens from Arabia had to apply for passports in order to visit Iran. Those too poor to pay were not formally excused but were permitted to arrange payment by instalment. and on cargo coming from an Ottoman port 1 per cent. to which the deeper-draft Indian Ocean ships might sail instead of to the shallow Hasa ports. (The normal duty on legal goods imported from abroad was 10 per cent. ‘Of what state are you a subject/citizen?’ – a sign.59 The government’s never-ending efforts to control trade around the Gulf were an integral part of this campaign to secure sensitive border regions against perceived outside threats. ‘ushr).58 They tried to restrict entry to eastern Arabia for anyone travelling from a British-controlled territory. He would then have to pay an excise tax on bringing them to Hasa – or indeed might have to pay the same customs charge again. It was absolutely convinced that Britain and Iran were working assiduously to gain control over Ottoman land and population. From the onset of renewed Ottoman rule in eastern Arabia. the penalty could be high: the agents who found the smuggled weapons in 1899 confiscated many. zakat) – although it did ¸ give in to the temptation to define the meaning of ‘tithe’ to its own benefit.32 Frederick F. and that the tribes of Arabia were too ignorant to do anything other than play into the foreigners’ hands. This is hardly a novel idea. The breakdown of the anational linkages of the nineteenth century was already under way at the close of the Ottoman period and was speeded up by the First World War and the establishment of a nation-state in Saudi Arabia. in spite of the large sums that could be raised.62 The excise tax iltizam. under which the state would levy only the canonic tithe.60 The tax system in Hasa supports the idea that the state wanted security as well as money.
the authorities tried to impose an embargo on trade with Najd in 1904.68 Less than four hundred troops and gendarmes remained in Hasa by 1913.64 With both Kuwait and Qatar unsupervised by any customs agent. The best way to do that was to give the responsibility to Hasawis who knew the country and the people best. but over time the state also felt an ever-greater need to stop the weapons trade. not only because it could ill afford the financial loss. the army occupied Qasim – but that. Ibn Sa‘ud was in the midst of learning how to correct some of the weaknesses in control and defence which had led to the downfall of previous Sa‘udi rulers. it must have been a relief to have the fighting come to an end.67 With Ottoman control over other territories in crisis. was to inculcate acceptance of the principle that the state and its institutions existed to give the Al Sa‘ud the most effective means to support the Wahhabi ideal. he proceeded to create a national basis for the state. in short. In practice. When the Sa‘udis conquered Hasa in 1913. Istanbul seemed to give up on eastern Arabia in the years leading up to the First World War. moreover. Trade did not rebound thereafter. but because it offered the only hope of controlling the smuggling of contraband. to incorporate the relatively cosmopolitan population of Hasa into a new state centred in Najd. Key to modern nation-state building. in spite of the likelihood of the imposition of more restrictions on society. is not only the reduction of sharp divisions within the imagined community but also the raising of barriers against outsiders. which came to power in the name of an activist. however. and with most of the Hasa coast similarly unobserved. some developed system of internal checks was necessary. The tensions between Sa‘udi rule and non-Wahhabi population could be illustrated graphically by the reported execution of the wealthy Shi‘i merchant and sometime Ottoman functionary Mansur Pasha of Qatif during the First World War. previous Sa‘udi attempts to rule in the east had not been unqualified successes. the state had come to fear the well-armed tribes of the interior greatly. the local economy and society suffered.65 Customs revenue was important. ideology (manifested in fighting other Muslims to assert a particular view of proper Islamic practice).70 In large part because of such aggressive actions. Hasa saw the loosening of cross-border ties .66 By the last decade of Ottoman rule in eastern Arabia. When that proved ineffective.An anational society 33 trade. and thus there is no need to go into them in detail here. The region was left woefully undermanned. even militant. ended in failure. too. national solidarity grows strong only through alienation from others – a real or conjured threat from neighbours works wonders in building group identity. It would have been hard for the Sa‘udi dynasty.71 An important element of Sa‘udi nation building. after all. both by the military and by the civil administration. The means by which Ibn Sa‘ud hammered out a more enduring ‘nation-state’ have been explored by others. In this case.69 As violence increased in extent and severity. Yet the state could not abolish it. The principle was useful in controlling zealotry among the ikhwan and later ideologues – but it also could not allow that state to administer a heterogeneous area in as relaxed a manner as the Ottomans had adopted. With the forlorn hope of keeping the interior quiet.
1997). To conclude on a less pessimistic note: the Council of State investigation of Said Pasha ended with his exoneration on the most serious charges levelled against him. 9 BBA. 4 Names and terms associated with the Ottoman state appear according to a slightly modified version of modern Turkish. 237. pp. 12 Bashir M. Nafi. and their replacement with bonds to the new ‘national’ heartland. Y – Kâmil 86-38/3790. an area crucial to any nation. see Frederick Anscombe. while others are rendered from their Arabic forms. military. Irade Dahiliye 44930. (Leiden: E. Irade Dahiliye 44930. notes the presence of Shi‘a and all Sunni madhahib in Hasa. ‘Abu al-Thana’ al-Alusi: An Alim. and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 5 BBA. 2–3. S. ¸ ¸D) 6 BBA. Ottoman Mufti. Sura-yi Devlet (S 2184/6. 7 F. p. although the Hanbali ‘has increased in importance in recent times’.73 Notes 1 This most apt term achieved renown through Benedict Anderson. 1971).72 If Said Pasha were remembered today in the Eastern Province. J. The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait. Brill. 55–6.or community-building project. 8 On the relaxation of social and religious limits following the Ottoman displacement of Sa‘udi rule. made transnationalism a strong force – it could be argued that the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is relatively less open to outside influences than it was in the anational era of Said Pasha. III. . Riyadh and Najd. and Exegete of the Qur’an’. Imperial Classroom: Islam. Vidal. enclosure 2 (Midhat’s report to the Sublime Porte giving details of geographic. although he failed to win reinstatement in office. ‘al-Hasa’. ‘sancak of Necd’ rather than ‘sanjaq of Najd’. Saudi Arabia and Qatar (New York: Columbia University Press. 1983). administrative and economic conditions in Hasa. 15 Tesrin-i evvel ¸ ¸ 1318/28 October 1901. The expansive trade network of a century ago was long since largely displaced by ARAMCO. 22 Kânun-i evvel 1287/3 January 1872). vol. the State. see Anscombe. 11 BBA. Encyclopedia of Islam. Anscombe to populations tainted by the corrupted religions of the Ottoman empire and Iran. 2nd edn. 3 For further information on Ottoman aims and policies in the Gulf. BBA. Said Pasha’s service record (tercüme-yi hâl ). and dissatisfaction with the close check kept upon those parts of the population that diverge significantly from the dominant type of the Sa‘udi national always has the potential to break through the surface tranquillity. p. when the marvels of technology have knit intimately together many once-disparate parts – indeed. Thus. Necd mutasarrıf ’s undated report (probably from 1886–7) generally confirms Midhat’s assessment but admits the presence of fewer Hanafis. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso. 2 For the endurance of Islam in Ottoman education.34 Frederick F. The unrest among the Shi‘a in 1980 was the most visible sign of this discontent. see Benjamin Fortna. he would probably be missed by many. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 34/3 (August 2002): 465–94. pp. In today’s world. 2002). Yıldız – Mehmet Kâmil Pasha (Y – Kâmil) 86-38/3790. enclosure 2. Ottoman Gulf. 10 BBA. 2. He died in retirement in Baghdad in 1905. but ‘Al Sa‘ud’ instead of ‘El Suud’. SD 2185/18.
1 Nisan ¸ 1316/14 April 1900. 20. enclosure 119. SD 2184/6. 103. Yıldız – Bab-i Asafi Resmî (Y – A Resmî) 27/19. 41. SD 2184/6. BBA. II. ˇ . 120. 4 Kânun-i evvel 1315/16 December 1899. SD 2184/6.Prk. 645. Tauris. 12 Kânun-i evvel 1315/24 December 1899. SD 2184/6.Azj) 50/80. enclosure 120. SD 2184/6.An anational society 35 13 BBA. 4 ¸ Kânun-i evvel 1315/16 December 1899. 24 Lorimer. Necd Administrative Council to Basrah Administrative Council. SD 2184/6. 1915). e. 5 Mart 1317/18 March 1901. p. ¸ 27 BBA. enclosures 47. B. interrogation of ¸ former Necd mutasarrıf Said. for example. ¸ 20 BBA. 16 BBA. 994–5. statement of former Necd naib Seyyid Mehmed Sabit. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah vali. 25 Kânun-i evvel 1299/6 January 1884. 15 BBA. 12 Temmuz 1304/24 July 1888. reform proposal of Basrah naval commander Rıza Ali. 23 See. report by Necd treasurer and Income Registry secretary. 1999). ¸ 13 Kânun-i evvel 1298/25 December 1882. Gazetteer. statement of former Necd mutasarrıf Said. 22 Lorimer. ¸ 18 BBA. ¸ 13 Mart 1315/25 March 1899. Ottoman Turkish and Arabic copies of petition for justice from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Isa Abu Julayja to Basrah vali. Casim to Necd commander Abdülhamid. Oman. 8 Mart 1317/21 March 1901. chap. 38. SD 2184/6. alludes to the presence of African slaves in Hasa. enclosure 71. 19 BBA. enclosure 47. II. explores the empire’s deep concern about missionaries. vol. 16 ¸ ¸ Tesrin-i evvel 1315/28 October 1899. p. pp. reports of Medina resident Seyhane Ibrahim and Egyptian journalist/newspaper owner ¸ Mehmed Safa. 1997) and The Ottoman Slave Trade and its Suppression 1840–1890 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. also notes the presence of a few Iraqi Jews in Hasa. chap. 25 BBA. SD 2149/40. vol. 1850–1921 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Necd mutasarrıf Said to Basrah vali. enclosure 48. 22 ¸ Kânun-i sani 1316/4 February 1901. petition of Dervis ibn Mehmed Ali.g. SD 2184/6. SD 2157/22. enclosure 43. enclosure 120. enclosure 38. BBA. enclosure 92. 17 Subat 1315/1 March 1900. 28–33. enclosure 112a. 17 BBA. p. dated by archivists to 1322/1904–7. 4 ¸ Kânun-i evvel 1315/16 December 1899. enclosure 14. SD 2184/6. 29 BBA. See Eugene Rogan. ¸ 26 BBA. pp. and Central Arabia (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing. particularly during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876–1909). Gazetteer. 645. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah vali. G. Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan. He found the transformation of society in Salt particularly remarkable. pp. 28 BBA. 1998). Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah vali. consult the works of Ehud Toledano. Selim Deringil. for example. former Necd muhasebeci Seyyid Mehmed Cavid to Council of State. refers to a bedouin menace to a caravan returning to Hasa with various trade goods. For excellent studies on the Ottoman empire and the slave-trade. Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East (Seattle: University of Washington Press. 14 Eugene Rogan details the striking changes that the onset of direct Ottoman rule brought to Transjordan. 5. 26. bought by pilgrims who had performed a Rajabiyyah visit to Medina. another arid frontier district of the empire. SD 2184/6. J. enclosures 48. The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire (London: I. Irade Meclis-i Mahsus 4301. ¸ 21 See. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Necd mutasarrıf ¸ Said. 30 BBA. enclosures 102. 6. p. 29 Mart 1317/11 April 1901. 1982). petition of Hasaniye to Court of First Instance. Yıldız – Perakende Arzuhal ve Jurnal (Y. 48. ¸ 15 Ag ustos 1291/27 August 1875. SD 2184/6. I. Lorimer. vol.
The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. 24. 57. including Arabia. Dahiliye Nezareti – Muhâberât-i Umûmiye Idaresi 50–1/21. SD 2184/6.000–£500. Y. 1308/1890–1). SD 2184/6. 29. 61. enclosure 3. 41 Basra Vilayeti Salnamesi (Basrah: Basrah Matbaası. 14. BBA. 1997). see Hala Fattah. Irade Askeriye 1310-M/16. Council of Ministers memorandum. 30 Kânun-i sani 1315/11 February 1899. ¸ 51 BBA. and the Gulf. pp. ¸ 34 BBA. Ibrahim Fevzi Pasha’s service record (tercüme-yi hâl ). 53 BBA. p. SD 2184/6. 50. 20 Subat 1288/4 March ¸ ¸ 1873. enclosure 119. Y – Kâmil 86-38/3790. 56. 44 BBA. p. 48 BBA. enclosure 2. · 36 BBA. Minister of Internal Affairs to Grand Vezir. enclosure 119. 1906). pp. ¸ 16 Kânun-i evvel 1315/28 December 1899. Libya. 43 BBA. SD 2184/6. 39 Hasawis frequently filled positions of local authority such as district müdir or head of municipality. A. Another copy of this survey is in BBA. 43. 64. Yıldız-Bab-i Asafi Resmî 93/21. Y – A Resmî 60/12. 13 Kânun-i evvel 1315/25 December 1899. Bab-i Ali Evrak Odası Ayniyat 849/195. Anscombe 31 BBA. enclosure 79. 657. medical and assault investigation report. enclosure 119. SD 2184/6. 132–3. 26 Tesrin-i evvel 1307/7 ¸ November 1891.Azj 50/80. 1544. 66. ¸ 56 BBA. p. Y – Kâmil 86-38/3790. · 37 BBA. ¸ 35 John B. 4. 38 The system of elite schools which specialized in training future state officers extended beyond the famous Mülkiye and Harbiye to include such institutions as the Tribal School. Kurdistan and Albania. enclosure 119. Arabia. SD 2149/23. 45 BBA. ¸ 55 BBA. 54 BBA. SD 2184/6. which catered to the sons of influential men in heavily tribal areas of the empire. J. interrogation of Ahsalı Abdullah ibn Hasan. BBA. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah vali. See Eugene Rogan. 52 BBA. 3). 22. II. SD 2186/35. SD 2184/6. Saldana. SD 2184/6. for report that not all freight coming into ‘Uqayr was being checked properly. 47 BBA. 19 Tes rin-i ¸ ¸ sani-5 Kânun-i evvel 1315/1–17 December 1899.Prk. 44. Iraq. 31. 20 Haziran 1316/5 July 1900. enclosure 24. 27 Mayıs 1314/8 June 1898. 1795–1880 (Oxford: Clarendon Press. ‘As iret Mektebi: Abdülhamid II’s School for Tribes’. 43. 22 Haziran 1316/5 July 1900. 46 BBA. 49 Lorimer. 28. 20 Mart 1319/2 April 1903. enclosure 168. They also served on the sancak administrative council. p. Irade Dahiliye 44930. 768. enclosure 119. Britain and the Persian Gulf. 42 For this period. prisoners’ petition to Necd commander Abdülhamid. 16 Mart 1319/29 March 1903. enclosure 53. Irade Dahiliye 1311-S/48. 33 BBA. 1968). enclosure 2. Irade Dahiliye 44930. 26 ¸ Haziran 1316/9 July 1900. Mahmud Mahır Bey’s service record. Kelly. ¸ 4 Receb 1311/11 January 1894. International Journal of Middle ¸ Eastern Studies 28/1 (February 1996): 83–107. 7 Saban 1292/8 September 1875. head of Hufuf municipality Mehmed to Necd ¸ commander Abdülhamid. p. enclosure 89. p. ¸ . Necd Court of Appeals to Necd mutasarrıf Said. enclosure 63. pp. 60. Gazetteer. enclosure 119. 50 BBA. vol. SD 2184/6. pp. 32 BBA. Midhat Pasha had estimated the produce of Hasa to be worth £400. Precis of Turkish Expansion on the Arab Littoral of the Persian Gulf and Hasa and Qatif Affairs (Calcutta: Government of India. Minister of War to Council of State. petition of ‘Abd ¸ al-Husayn Salih Hamad. pp.36 Frederick F. 43. p. albeit in relation to Kuwait rather than Hasa’s ports. ‘Uqayr gendarmerie lieutenant Yusuf to Necd ¸ commander Abdülhamid. survey of Qatari statistics. 8.000 (BBA. Y – A Resmî 120/92. SD 2184/6. 1745–1900 (Albany: State University of New York Press. 17. 40 BBA. 1 mentions these distant destinations.
16 Tes rin-i evvel 1308/28 ¸ October 1892. generally overstresses the revenue interest at the cost of recognizing the security issues. BBA. see BBA. 21 Nisan 1299/3 May 1883. Mayıs 1308/May–June 1892. Politics. Yıldız – Perakende Umumiye 20/5. 146–8.Azj 47/70. The Making of Saudi Arabia.Prk.Azj 47/58. 2002). opinion on customs question of Sublime Porte legal adviser. 64 BBA. Y. and Madawi Al-Rasheed and Loulouwa Al-Rasheed. 62 BBA. 199–200. 3 Receb 1323/3 September 1905. ‘Transforming Dualities: Tribe and State Formation in Saudi Arabia’. 66 BBA. Meclis-i Vükela Mazbataları (MV) 113/87. 7. 12 Ag ustos 1314/24 August 1898. 73 BBA. 58 It is worthy of note that all of those so questioned readily admitted to being Ottoman citizens/subjects. MV 68/2. A History of Saudi Arabia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. It is unlikely that they were all dissembling in their answers. 1990). 1993).An anational society 37 57 For a typical report on British and Iranian designs on the Ottoman Iraqi provinces. report of Abdullah to Yıldız Palace. See also Madawi Al-Rasheed. 70 I am indebted to Guido Steinberg for this information. BEO Ayniyat 851/258–9. in Philip Khoury and Joseph Kostiner (eds). for example. Middle Eastern Studies 32/1 ( January 1996): 96–119. ‘Politics’. Y. BBA. Interior Minister to Grand Vezir. 63 BBA. 13 Haziran ¸ 1318/26 June 1902. BBA. 109–16. SD 2184/6. Ottoman Gulf. 747. since a number of them seemed to have few qualms over admitting that they were in some way involved in arms-smuggling. Joseph Kostiner. Istanbul ¸ ¸ Bab-i Ali Documents Collection: Bab-i Ali Evrak Odası Ayniyat · Dahiliye Nezareti – Muhâberât-i Umûmiye Idaresi Hariciye Siyasi . dated by archivist to 1320/1904–7.Azj 6/77. Y. 18 Subat 1296/2 March ¸ 1881. p. anonymous report on the Iraqi provinces submitted to Sultan Abdülhamid II. see BBA. 7 Haziran ¸ 1315/19 June 1899. p. Former Necd mutasarrıf Said to Council of State. dated by archivist to 1320/1904–7. pp.Azj 4/49. 61 BBA. see Anscombe. 26 Rebi el-evvel 1324/20 May 1906. II. 65 For an interesting appeal to the state to revert to a form of iltizam in collecting the tithe because locals could do it so much more efficiently. Al-Rasheed and Al-Rasheed. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah commander. telegram from merchant Yusuf Ya‘qub to Yıldız Palace. 226–51. Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East (Berkeley: University of California Press. vol.Prk. Bibliography Unpublished archival sources Bas bakanlık Osmanlı Ars ivi. 71 Joseph Kostiner. 2 Kânun-i evvel 1306/14 December 1890. SD 2149/40. BBA. pp. Saudi Arabia. BBA. Basrah vali Hidayet to Yıldız Palace.Prk. 59 BBA. Y. 2 Temmuz 1329/15 July 1913. 1916–1936 (Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. ¸ ˇ 60 Fattah. 69 Anscombe. MV 70/15. which suggests that the legitimacy of Ottoman rule was broadly accepted. SD 2185/18. Ottoman Gulf. 68 BBA. MV 112/1. 67 Lorimer. chap. Hariciye Siyasi 96/13. 72 Al-Rasheed.Prk. 29 Rebi el-âhir 1294/13 May ¸ 1877. SD 2177/7. the other very sensitive question for the state. ‘The Politics of Encapsulation: Saudi Policy towards Tribal and Religious Opposition’. 162. Gazetteer. anonymous report on the Iraqi provinces. On this last phase of Ottoman rule.
J. New York: Columbia University Press. B. pp. Kostiner. 1968. H. M. Imperial Classroom: Islam. 1982. M. 2002.38 Frederick F.. Ottoman Mufti. 1745–1900. 1997. Arabia. E. 1983. The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. III. The Making of Saudi Arabia. Oxford: Clarendon Press. in P. Rogan. Kostiner. 1997. New York: Verso. B. The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire. 1990. London: I. Basra Vilayeti Salnamesi. 1308/1890–1. Toledano. Fattah. The Ottoman Slave Trade and its Suppression 1840–1890. ‘Transforming Dualities: Tribe and State Formation in Saudi Arabia’. p. B. J. 1850–1921. ‘The Politics of Encapsulation: Saudi Policy towards Tribal and Religious Opposition’. 1999. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1916–1936. Precis of Turkish Expansion on the Arab Littoral of the Persian Gulf and Hasa and Qatif Affairs. Berkeley: University of California Press. 237. J. Saldana. 226–51. Kostiner (eds). Fortna. Kelly. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. E. A. S. Deringil. Middle Eastern Studies 32/1 ( January 1996): 96–119. Brill. ‘Abu al-Thana’ al-Alusi: An Alim. vol. Al-Rasheed. F. Toledano. J. Lorimer. and Central Arabia. Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan. Rogan. J. F. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ‘al-Hasa’. and Al-Rasheed. 1795–1880. and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire. Vidal. Encyclopedia of Islam. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 2nd edn. Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East. Britain and the Persian Gulf. Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing. 1971. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 34/3 (August 2002): 465–94. 1915. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Al-Rasheed. 2 vols. International Journal of Middle ¸ Eastern Studies 28/1 (February 1996): 83–107. . Oxford: Oxford University Press. ‘As iret Mektebi: Abdülhamid II’s School for Tribes’. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1906. Basrah: Basrah Matbaası. Anscombe. M. 2002. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. G. Calcutta: Government of India. E. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Anscombe · Irade Askeriye · Irade Dahiliye · Irade Meclis-i Mahsus Meclis-i Vükela Mazbataları Sura-yi Devlet ¸ Yıldız Palace Archive Collection: Bab-i Asafi Resmî Mehmet Kâmil Pasha Perakende Arzuhal ve Jurnal Perakende Umumiye Published sources Anderson. Tauris. Leiden: E.. 1997. Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East. Nafi. and the Gulf. S. 1998. B. 1993. Khoury and J. Oman. B. Ehud. L. and Exegete of the Qur’an’. the State. J. A History of Saudi Arabia.
‘Ali A. W. Bushehri’s autobiographical narrative provides a communal perspective on Bahrain in the early 1960s. As Bushehri explains in his unpublished memoirs. Palgrave’s description of Manamah’s coffee-houses in the mid-nineteenth century portrays them as cosmopolitan venues in contrast with the ‘closely knit and bigoted universe of central Arabia’. instead of Zelators and fanatics. . a great relief to the mind. I used to believe . . c. Muhammad Reza Shah. the majority of the Persian Shi‘i population of Manamah looked at Iran as their homeland until 1967–8. Iran had relinquished her historical claim over the islands.1869–1937 Nelida Fuccaro Of religious controversy I have never heard one word. the second God was the Small God. God. able to overcome communal bonds. Bushehri.3 . G. capture two snapshots of the multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan society of the port city of Manamah before the radical demographic transformation of the 1960s. . ‘Struggle of [sic] National Identity’2 These two quotations. or as I was naming him khodaheh bozorgh in Persian. Most Persians opted for Bahrain’s independence under its historical Arab rulers. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–3)1 When I was a very young child . the al-Khalifah family. certainly it was so to mine. Palgrave invokes the notion of ‘men of the world’ as individuals socializing in open-minded milieus who developed ways of thinking and relating to the ‘other’. In short. . that there were two Gods: the Big God. or the khodaheh kochek. beliefs and cultures of origin. In contrast. who know the world like men’. He was the Shah of Iran. . when Bahrain was released from British control. we have at Bahreyn [Manamah] something like ‘men of the world. which he had just visited. the Big God was the God . written some 130 years apart by an English traveller and by a member of the Persian community of Bahrain. when the United Nations sent a special commission to Bahrain to ascertain the views of the local population regarding its political future. . camel-drivers and Bedouins. Despite conveying somewhat stereotypical orientalist images. and by 1971.2 Mapping the transnational community Persians and the space of the city in Bahrain. Palgrave. His sense of place and self is filtered through strong political and religious loyalties which blend together under the banner of Pahlavi nationalism.
Looking back. the American company in charge of oil exploitation in Bahrain.8 In the 1950s the development of political and labour movements inspired by Arab nationalism partially succeeded in bridging the Sunni–Shi‘i divide. The contested national culture and political loyalties which were promoted by Bahrain’s Sunni elites of tribal origin has left room for the cyclical resurgence of particularistic and sectarian identities. the focus of bitter resentment and contempt. In 1938 and 1942–3 Baharnah activists mobilized against the Persians employed by BAPCO. feelings of bedouin superiority and the protection granted to the Najdis by Ibn Sa‘ud made the Shi‘is. Dubai and Kuwait city before the discovery of oil. which attested to the economic success of port settlements such as Manamah. The political particularism expressed by Bushehri seems to be at odds with the universalist conception implicit in the ‘historical cosmopolitanism’ noted by Palgrave.40 Nelida Fuccaro In Bahrain. In the twentieth century the frequent resurfacing and reshaping of categories of individual and communal definition such as ‘Arab (Arab Sunni of tribal origin). the project has not been entirely successful.6 Bahrain’s communal divisions were the kernel of the policy of divide and rule which was enforced by Great Britain as the supreme arbiter of regional politics for 150 years or so.5 It can be argued that processes of ‘Bahrainization’ which started with the consolidation of a modern administration in the 1920s relied on historical traditions and lifestyles which were syncretic and attempted to operate a new synthesis under the notion of a ‘modern Bahrain’. Intransigent Wahhabi beliefs. Baharnah (Arab Shi‘i) and ‘Ajam (Persian) suggest that indigenous political discourses were dominated by what can be defined as the ‘politics of primordialism’.4 The exclusive nature and translocal character of modern nationalism is particularly evident in the case of the local Persians. As historical processes cosmopolitanism and nationalism are by no means exclusive and diachronic. who had close historical connections to the Qajar and Pahlavi governments. British colonialism and the political and socio-economic change brought about by oil wealth functioned as powerful catalysts for political mobilization in the country. The political reforms carried out by the British in the 1920s aimed at empowering large sections of the impoverished Arab Shi‘i population and at keeping the political activities of Iran among the local Persian communities in check while creating a suitable framework for the continuation of the rule of the al-Khalifah family.7 Outbreaks of violence triggered by economic and political grievances generally led to sectarian or communal confrontation. Among many Bahraini Arabs political activism acquired strong anti-British and antiimperialist overtones and provided the platform for the emergence of protest movements with a nationalist base which opposed the oil and security alliance . as they bitterly criticized the employment and better treatment of foreigners. particularly those of Iranian descent. India and Iran. The long-standing antagonism between the Persians and the Najdis resulted in armed clashes in the suq of Manamah in 1903–4 and in 1923. nationalist sentiments and the sense of belonging to a modern political community began to be voiced in the 1920s as a result of the ideological influence of neighbouring Arab countries. particularly non-Arabs.
it was a long process of strategic negotiation with different sections of the local population in order to establish the pre-eminence of their particularistic Sunni/bedouin tradition of family rule. the Persians. political loyalties and legal traditions which continued to function as independent yet interrelated sources of communal life and organization while gradually shaping the contours of the island polity. In other words. The coastline of Bahrain was indeed a permeable border which nurtured the coexistence of diverse religious and ethnic communities under local tribal rulers who enjoyed the protection of foreign powers: the Portuguese. The coastline has provided stable political boundaries which defined the sphere of control of empires and tribal dynasties. and the dynamic maritime networks that connected the Persian Gulf to the Middle East. In what follows migratory movements from Iran and the .9 The majority of Persians remained politically silent in this period. fostering linkages between local. The terms of this debate are provided by the gradual evolution of the tribal/modern state under British control and its relations with the traditional maritime economy based in the city of Manamah. Yet the existence of ‘transnational communities’ in the region implies the existence of nations whose boundaries are ‘violated’ by movements of peoples and ideas. In fact. the government of British India. The mobility of the tribal society which dominated the Arabian Peninsula and southern Iran. which they could visit with almost no restrictions until 1970. both rulers and large sections of the urban population were immigrants. Unlike other metropolitan states of the Persian Gulf Bahrain is an island society with a long history of agriculture and sedentary settlement before the discovery of oil.Mapping the transnational community 41 between the British and the government of Bahrain. This port provided a space for cultural and socio-economic exchange. India and East Africa consistently affected the make-up of the population of the islands. cultural and socio-economic fields will it be possible to grasp the meaning of ‘transnational’ and relate it to the community’s experience of historical change. the Omanis and. which written sources confine to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the same time it became an arena of communal conflict and political mobilization. Popular protest and elite mobilization became increasingly constrained by the community’s position as an endangered minority which large sections of the local Arab population continued to perceive as aloof and untrustworthy outsiders. religious and political links with Iran. transregional and transnational contexts. From this perspective state building under the al-Khalifah shaykhs should not be considered exclusively as the result of Britain’s informal empire in the Persian Gulf. which conquered the islands in 1783. The longue durée of Bahraini history. As was the case for the al-Khalifah family. since the early nineteenth century. communalism and nationalism are frames of reference which can be clearly related to translocal. regional and international flows of people and commodities. The Shi‘is continued to nurture family. The city of Manamah offers a unique insight into the creation of the island polity. suggests that cosmpolitanism. only by contextualizing the study of the Persians within the formation of a ‘local’ and ‘national’ arena as interconnected political. They brought in different material cultures.
represented an important resource base for the rulers. which represented a watershed in the modern history of the Persian community. probably as a result of the introduction of fees on inheritance transfers which added considerable revenue to the personal treasury of the ruler. agricultural taxation and maritime trade represented approximately 98 per cent of the total income of the Shaykh of Bahrain. It was a coercive system relying on taxes and corvées imposed on peasants and date farmers by the armed retinue of the al-Khalifah shaykhs ( fidawiyyah). which expanded as a cosmopolitan immigration unit. Customs collected in the port. the ruler of Bahrain between 1869 and 1923. socio-economic and political reconfiguration of family and economic networks in the city are discussed to highlight the role played by transnational connections in the development of the urban environment. The separation between the fort and the city can be taken as the spatial referent of the rulers’ detachment from urban society. qal‘at al-bahrayn. its diverse ethnic and religious communities and the representatives of Great Britain after the 1830s. After Bahrain came under Persian rule following the Safavid conquest of Hormuz in 1621. As a political space it brokered relations between the tribal conquerors of the islands.42 Nelida Fuccaro spatial. In 1873–4 land revenue. In 1904 the same receipts decreased to 85 per cent. which relied on pearling and transit trade. As a result of military conquest and according to bedouin custom. Shaykh ‘Isa b.10 The city developed east of the Portuguese fort on a natural harbour which was easily accessible to both commercial and naval ships. particularly on transit trade. inherited permanent rights over the agricultural districts of the island. This narrative stops at the beginning of the oil era in 1937 with the promulgation of the Nationality and Property Law. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the seat of tribal power was established in the town of Muharraq. After 1736 Nadir Shah built a new fort located in the southern outskirts of twentieth-century Manamah. . ‘Ali al-Khalifah. a feature which is crucial in understanding the nature of the al-Khalifahs’ rule over Manamah after their conquest of Bahrain in 1783. the centre of Persian military and political authority gradually shifted inland. located on an island east of Manamah port. Manamah and the political economy of al-Khalifah rule The city of Manamah was the centre of the maritime economy of the islands. built by the Portuguese between 1515 and 1521. The history of this settlement cannot be dissociated from that of its fort. The absence of walls and of a permanent defence system favoured the mercantile development and open socio-economic structure of Manamah. who also relied on the exploitation of the agricultural hinterland of Manamah.12 The relationship between the ruling family and the mercantile communities of Manamah was affected by the different administration of the urban and rural areas.11 The control of Manamah gave legitimacy to the rule of the al-Khalifah family. He routinely distributed land and entire villages as hibah or personal gifts to members of his family.
and effectively supported the coercive apparatus of government established by the al-Khalifahs in the rural districts of the islands. fruit. Before the succession of ‘Isa b. Many of Manamah’s merchants fled to Kuwait and to the Persian coast to await the cessation of hostilities. Khalifah.13 In Manamah the ruler appointed a member of his family as governor of the city but revenue was collected only in the customs house and in some sections of the central markets through local intermediaries. the trading community. they were also a source of cash loans. particularly vegetables.15 The development of an increasing monetary economy in the last quarter of the nineteenth century brought considerable benefits to wealthy international merchants who. Ahmad al-Khalifah and Muhammad b. Soon after the end of the war. powerful tribal allies and fidawiyyah accounted to more than two-thirds of Shaykh ‘Isa’s total expenses. particularly merchants with transnational connections. The rulers controlled the infrastructure of the central markets and rented out land. ‘Abdullah b. shops and warehouses to the merchants. part of which was claimed back by Muhammad Rahim’s son in 1939. unlike the case of Muhammad Rahim Safar. between 1894 and 1899 the British ‘Native Agent’ Muhammad Rahim Safar. generally received full compensation from the ruler for their loans. Between the early 1890s and the reorganization of the customs in 1923. Muhammad blockaded the ports of ‘Uqayr and Qatif which functioned as major distribution centres of goods from Bahrain to the Arabian Peninsula. During the civil war of 1842–3 when Manamah became the theatre of military operations between the two main contenders to the rulership. Shaykh ‘Isa farmed out the collection of taxes on goods entering and leaving Bahrain to Indian merchants. In 1862 Palgrave described an impoverished city with a few ruined stone buildings whose landscape was dominated by the huts of poor fishermen. Bahrain was occupied by the Imam of Muscat in 1800 and ruled by the Wahhabis in 1810–11. as ‘Abdullah took shelter in Kuwait. often had the upper hand in their dealings with the tribal government. skippers and pearl-divers. fish and meat. In the following decades Manamah became the focus of British commercial activities in the Arabian Gulf and the world centre of pearling. For instance. the port was closed and commercial activities were paralysed.Mapping the transnational community 43 who came to control large agricultural estates and date gardens. which were sold in specialized markets controlled by relatives of Shaykh ‘Isa as a result of the distribution of family property. ‘Ali al-Khalifah in 1869 family strife and political instability had disastrous effects on the economy of Manamah.14 Although dependent on the goodwill of the shaykhs for their business premises. They were able to impose direct taxation only on local produce. Not only did they increase the volume of overseas and transit trade passing through customs.16 Merchant elites were instrumental to the maintenance of family rule. Regional and long-distance trade . a member of a prominent Persian family which will be discussed below. In 1905 payments to secure loyalty of members of the family.17 With the accession of Shaykh ‘Isa in 1869 a new era of prosperity and stability was inaugurated under the aegis of the Pax Britannica. lent a considerable sum of money to Shaykh ‘Isa. usually with land grants or particular trade concessions.
it seems that the Indian merchants who farmed the customs continued . In practice. the property was officially registered in the name of the Persian merchant 18 years later. Although there is no evidence of action taken by the British representative. Qatif. Although Shaykh ‘Isa donated land to rich merchants in exchange for cash loans. the accumulation of merchant capital prompted them to seek alternative sources of income in order to establish independent bases of financial support. one of Manamah’s Persian neighbourhoods. One of the earliest documented instances of appeal to the British Agent dates back to 1905 when ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri. with small communities of Indians. Jews and Europeans.22 Many close relatives of the ruler were also dissatisfied with Shaykh ‘Isa’s grants. British ‘native agents’ had acquired judicial power over all those groups that did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Shaykh of Bahrain in 1861. Najd and Iran. a Persian merchant. Labour from Bahrain’s agricultural villages continued to supply manpower for the boatbuilding and pearling industries. became involved in a land dispute with a member of the powerful Dawasir tribe which belonged to the close entourage of Shaykh ‘Isa. As the criteria of jurisdiction became the subject of bitter disputes. civil and criminal disputes. al-Ahsa’. Furthermore. Kuwait. and with the tribal councils controlled by the ruler. These courts applied British Indian law and operated in parallel with local Sunni and Shi‘i religious courts. Although the courts of the British Political Agency were established formally in 1919. by the end of the nineteenth century the practice by his relatives of selling properties in the residential districts of Manamah and in the outskirts of the city became widespread. the imposition of British extraterritorial jurisdiction on immigrant communities had important repercussions on large sections of the population of Manamah. most cases were remanded to the Agency court after referral to the British Agent and to the ruler.18 Manamah’s booming economy relied mainly on capital. As beneficiaries of hibah the shaykhs could not in theory alienate land through sale. British extraterritorial jurisdiction empowered Manamah’s mercantile communities whose members could resort to the Agency to further their communal and individual interests.000 residents were originally from Basrah.44 Nelida Fuccaro had recovered fully by 1873. and ‘Ali Kazim complained to the Agent that Shaykh ‘Isa’s arbitration in favour of the Dawasir was unfair.21 The gradual transfer of real estate to merchant elites is another indication of the steady erosion of the rulers’ control over the city. as it ultimately reverted to Shaykh ‘Isa as part of the family dirah. commercial expertise and manpower coming from neighbouring regions which supported the demographic and physical expansion of the city. The land in question was located in Laki. despite the general increase in revenue from trade and pearling. which had reduced as a result of the increasing number of family members he had to support. The first available breakdown of the population of the city in 1904 suggests that approximately half of its 25.19 While British protection consolidated the political foundations of Shaykh ‘Isa’s rule and ensured the maintenance of peace at sea. and between 1873 and 1900 the value of pearl exports increased sevenfold.20 By providing new sources of arbitration and mediation in commercial.
Family histories and British records suggest that large groups of Persian immigrants arrived in Bahrain between the 1860s and the early 1920s. The majority of them were Shi‘is. Dubai and Kuwait. almost half of them from the district of Dasht. an old Shi‘i religious centre located to the south-west of Manamah. The scarcity of rain provoked severe food shortages in the periods 1870–2. as merchants increasingly bought land and immovable property located in the suq.23 Many urban notables also acquired permanent property rights after the enforcement of official land registration in 1925. The movement of tribal populations and merchant communities which intersected the Gulf waters facilitated the exchange of populations between Bahrain and the coastal regions between Kuwait to the Straits of Hormuz. Bandar ‘Abbas and Lingah. Although it can be surmised that Persian rule encouraged the settlement of Arab and Persian groups. 1888–92 and 1897–8. which were followed by sharp rises in crime and urban insecurity. In 1900 a Persian customs administration was established in the ports of Bushehr. As the city was dependent on its agricultural hinterland for basic food . Persian migrations and family networks The islands of Bahrain and the city of Manamah were the natural destinations of immigration from Iran. The history of Bushehr in the late nineteenth century can be aptly summed up as a litany of disasters. The majority of the population of Lingah left the city between 1894 and 1904. In 1828 a member of the Safar family bought a date plantation near the village of Bilad al-Qadim.25 The expanding economy of Manamah after the end of the civil strife of the 1840s was supported by a considerable inflow of labour and commercial expertise from the coastal regions of southern Iran. managed by Belgian officials from the new Department of Imperial Persian Customs based in Tehran. After 1925 the creation of a property market regulated by modern institutions considerably weakened the monopoly over the central markets of Manamah held by the al-Khalifah shaykhs. it cannot be documented historically. marked the beginning of widespread political reforms and provided the foundations for the modern administration of the city. Many mercantile communities relocated to the Arab coast to avoid the new fiscal regime which was detrimental to their business.24 During the reign of ‘Isa b. The earliest acquisition of property in Bahrain by a Persian dates back to the early al-Khalifah period.Mapping the transnational community 45 to pay yearly advances to the ruler which had little relation to the expansion of the volume of trade. By 1900 the regional currency had switched from the Persian kran to the Indian rupee as an indication of the shifting balance of trade in favour of mercantile centres such as Manamah. whose capital Bushehr was the seat of the British Resident in the Gulf and one of the largest ports in the region. ‘Ali the Qajar ruler Nasir al-Din Shah (1848–96) and his successor Muzaffar al-Din Shah (1896–1907) gradually imposed direct control over the coastal regions of southern Iran previously under semi-independent chiefs of tribal origin. alongside the establishment of municipal government in 1919 and the reorganization of the customs in 1923. The fixing of property rights.
The arrival of larger communities which included impoverished peasants and labourers escaping rural insecurity was also common.29 As the first or second generations settled in Bahrain they maintained strong family links with their city of origin. belonged to families originally from the Dashti quarter in Bushehr. Farsis. larger groups which included different households continued to be identified with their places of origin in Iran. Imports of tea. particularly for the education of their children.30 Marriage with first cousins and relatives in Iran contributed to the continuity of family ties across the Gulf waters. woollen socks and imported shoes. books and shoes increased sharply between 1873 and 1905. were keen drinkers of tea and spirits. often joined in the host country by relatives and neighbours. While the new family line was often established under the name of the first settler in Manamah. They were economic migrants who moved in relatively small groups. locusts and cattle disease had a cumulative effect on prices in the central markets of Bushehr. Persians. liquors. a funeral house located in Manamah which functioned as the religious and social centre of the community.27 Literacy and numeracy were widespread among traders and entrepreneurs. shawls. cheap velvets and silks’. rosewater. barley and meat. In 1951 half of the members of the council of the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. as was the case for the Bushehris. who imported books from Iran and India. As recorded in contemporary accounts their clothes and headgear set them apart from the local Arab population: following the Bushehr fashion at the turn of the century. Persian localist identity was also reinforced . pantaloons. British observers who were generally familiar with the population of the southern Iranian cities took for granted the more refined taste and superior material culture of the ‘Ajam immigrants. A British report on Bahrain trade compiled in 1902 noted that ‘the influx of Persian settlers during the past two years are creating demand for a better class of prints. Famine and disease were cyclical and cholera and smallpox ravaged the city in 1870–2 and in the 1890s. well-to-do Persians in Bahrain would wear an ‘aba.26 Given the absence of detailed population figures before 1904 we can infer the presence of new Persian immigrants in Manamah from patterns of consumption of particular goods. waistcoat. By 1904 the business of merchants from Bushehr was thriving. Persian cloaks (‘abas). The unstable Qajar administration added to the general chaos: in 1898–9 alone five different governors were appointed to the Bushehr district. Shirazis. ‘Ahwazis and Bastekis. The precarious conditions of the urban and rural population were worsened by the tariff barriers placed by the Persian government on food imports which impoverished large sections of Bushehr’s wealthy merchant communities. urban neighbourhoods and villages shaped Persian migration flows to Bahrain which continued to follow lines of kinship and locality.28 Despite enjoying a reputation for high standards of living. the majority of Persians who left Bushehr were in search of a new life and trade opportunities in Bahrain. to the detriment of the local Indian community. The dislocation of entire families. woollen cloths. and invested in houses and landed properties in their old neighbourhood. known throughout the Arab Gulf as ‘Ajam.46 Nelida Fuccaro provisions such as wheat.
Some time after 1869 the ruler granted ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar a very favourable concession on customs duties. The Kazruni family capitalized on the religious networks and patronage politics associated to the popular Shi‘i neighbourhoods of Manamah. which had been the main trading company in the islands since 1873. rice. Social standing was primarily dictated by mercantile wealth but was also acquired through religious connections and through privileged access to the British agency and to the rulers. a Bushehri who settled in Bahrain as the agent for the British firm Gray. ‘Abd al-Nabi Qalawwas. married Zahra bint Ahmad Bushehri. later transferred to his son. As a result of the political connections of his family. In Bahrain the Safars held the position of Native Agents almost uninterruptedly until the establishment of a British Political Agency in 1900. and used Farsi. the Kazimi and Muniri branches of the Bushehr family started a troubled family history in 1881 when ‘Ali Kazim from Bushehr. Native Agents from 1872 to 1884 and from 1893 to 1900 respectively.Mapping the transnational community 47 by the creation of new family blocs which included households of the same social standing. the sister of ‘Abd al-Nabi Ahmad. kept social distance from other Persian immigrants. the wealthiest and most influential ‘Ajam Shi‘i groups of the pre-oil era. Paul & Co. By acting as local agents for Great Britain in Arabia. coffee. members of the Safar family acquired a prominent position in the international trade of a wide range of goods: weapons. dates and tea.32 The family histories of the Safar and Sharif families. a very rich merchant from Fars who established his business in the suq of Manamah in 1904. all from the same district in Bushehr. Their son Muhammad Rahim Safar. For instance. who arrived in Manamah in 1860. English and Arabic in their private and commercial .. merged in Manamah under the umbrella of British protection and international trade. enjoyed an exceptionally privileged relationship with Shaykh ‘Isa as the local representatives of Great Britain. Dawani and Beljik families. Muhammad ‘Ali Safar settled in Bahrain in 1833 as the ‘Native Agent’ for the British Resident in Bushehr. ‘Abd al-Nabi’s ma’tam and his new family connections contributed to placing the ‘Ajam community of Manamah on the urban map. ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar married the aunt of Muhammad Tahir Sharif. an ‘Ajam immigrant from the same urban neighbourhood. he married two Arab women whose families had established the Hajj ‘Abbas and Bin Sallum ma’tams. the first member of this group to settle in Manamah in the 1890s.31 Different matrimonial alliances suggest the progressive integration of some members of the community into the cosmopolitan society of Manamah. the last British Native Agent in Bahrain. married into the Beder. inherited the large Sharif/Safar fortune. The daughters of Baqir Isfandiyar.33 Members of the Safar and Sharif families kept close connections with Bushehr and Iran. Yemen and Bushehr. and gave him control of the islands’ pearling fleets. The family had extensive land holdings in southern Iraq and urban properties in Bombay and the Gulf. fostering links with similar religious organizations controlled by the Arab population of the city. ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar and his son Muhammad Rahim. As the first leader of the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir since 1905. two funeral houses located in central Manamah.
particularly among hawalah groups. Claiming Arab/tribal descent was a pragmatic device which legitimized their status vis-à-vis the ruling family. These two families were the only Persian groups that acquired formal political authority in nineteenth-century Bahrain as representatives of the government of British India. Migrations were the major catalyst of urban expansion and articulated overlapping networks whose members were linked by family. The Bushehri and Safar families contributed as much as two-thirds of the initial capital. Both families publicized their links with the Iranian Bakhtiyari tribe but changed their names to al-Safar and alSharif.36 As Manamah’s political blocs followed sectarian lines.37 Unlike the Safar and Sharif families. although the Safars did not maintain . the Kazruni and Bushehri families were true representative of the urban notability. religious loyalties and economic interests. locality. Shi‘i and Sunni ‘Ajam remained separate. Between 1889 and 1910 the Bushehri and Kazruni families brought to Manamah under their protection approximately 20 per cent of the total ‘Ajam population of the city. It was among the Shi‘is that migrations from Iran had a more visible impact on the development of the city and on the formation of wealthy entrepreneurial groups who enlarged their business by granting patronage to the newcomers. Persians in the city As a developing cosmopolitan city in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. ceremonial flagellation and passion play commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn. Muhammad Rahim used the Persian honorific title aqa but claimed Arab descent from Hillah in southern Iraq.550 individuals. the Persian ma’tam was supported by merchants. Al-‘Ajam al-Kabir was established in 1892 as a specialized building for the celebration of ‘ashura and for the organization of the tamthiliyyah. They provided leadership and maintained their local clientele by supporting the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. Like other funeral houses which mushroomed in Manamah in the 1890s. as these religious institutions structured the socioreligious organization of the Shi‘i neighbourhoods of the city.48 Nelida Fuccaro correspondence. whose support was essential for the maintenance of their privileged position as British employees. In 1904 the Persians were the largest foreign group established in the city on a permanent basis with approximately 1. By the 1920s the small Sunni community was relatively wealthy and included merchants from the Bastak district who had intermarried with Arab families. powerful merchant elites from southern Iran who have been extremely keen to publicize their Arab and tribal descent. Manamah had community-based socio-political organizations.34 Contestations over ethnic origins are not uncommon in Bahrain. the procession. at the beginning of the twentieth century and in the 1960s respectively.35 The Safar and Sharif families are unique among the ‘Ajams of Bahrain in that despite intermarriage they generally maintained an ethnic and linguistic identity separate from that of the Arabs. ethnicity. of whom only 50 were Sunni. whose involvement in high politics meant that their power base was not so close to the popular quarters of Manamah.
‘Ali Kazim established credit lines with many of the Persian immigrants who flocked to the city. show the ways in which patronage . a grand and luxurious merchant house by Manamah standards. ‘Ali Kazim helped a poor ‘Ajam immigrant for 15 years by giving him food and cash.40 The careers of ‘Abd al-Nabi. Al-’Ajam al-Kabir also had a special budget for poor and for needy individuals who claimed sayyid descent. It was a large.38 ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri. This institution provided relief and shelter to increasing numbers of dispossessed people during the harsh economic crisis that followed the collapse of the pearling industry in the early 1930s. The oral history of the Bushehr family recounts a number of episodes which show the extent to which patronage represented an investment for the Persian notability. originally owned by one of the wealthiest foodstuff dealers of the city. Ahmad was housed in one of ‘Ali Kazim’s properties which was bought by ‘Abd al-Nabi in 1906 when he became the business partner of ‘Ali Kazim and started a spectacular career as building contractor. particularly foodstuffs. Bandar ‘Abbas and Bombay. Reza Banna’. taking over from ‘Abd al-Nabi Qalawwas Kazruni. often catering for their immediate needs. He bought large quantities of provisions from Bushehr and resold them at an inflated price when famine and epidemics struck the city. the son of Ahmad Bushehri. two-floor stone building. by two brothers originally from Bushehr who had shops in the Manamah suq.Mapping the transnational community 49 their interest in ma’tam affairs in later years. Bayt ‘Ali Zalu and Hasan Zalu were donated to the ma’tam between 1898 and 1913 and in 1924 respectively. donated a piece of land with huts known as Hawtah Shirazi which gave the ma’tam a monthly rent of 30 rupees in 1930. and of ‘Abd al-Nabi Qalawwas Kazruni.39 Ahmad. He became rich by capitalizing on food shortages in Iran. In 1952 the ma’tam was supported by the rent of three houses. sold his house in Bushehr to ‘Ali Kazim in 1909 while ‘Ali Kazim’s partner ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri took Reza’s son Zar Haydar under his protection. He was one of the largest food suppliers in Manamah and with his brother Isma’il ran a ferry service to Nabi Saleh Island which sold provisions to the local population. particularly rents from houses and shops which were known by the name of the individual who had endowed them. was a self-made man. the two most influential ‘Ajam notables of their generation and leaders of the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. Located in the ‘Ajam district. a member of the Ruyan family. the first recorded leader. six shops and one hawtah. who was among the original founders of the ma’tam with the Zalu brothers. The ma’tam was supported by yearly donations from rich and poor members of the community and by waqf revenue. Members of the Muniri branch of the Bushehri family headed this institution from 1927 to 1967. the head of the Kazimi branch of the family. In 1923 he was eventually paid back by his son with the transfer of their family house in Bushehr. By 1917 Mirza Hasan Husayn Shirazi. By 1902 ‘Ali Kazim had expanded his business by establishing trade relations with Lingah. arrived in Bahrain in 1890 under the protection of ‘Ali Kazim who employed Ahmad’s son ‘Abd al-Nabi in his shop in Manamah suq. originally a day labourer who became an international trader in household commodities. the head of the Muniri branch of the family. Bayt Baqir Isfandiyar was the largest property owned by the Persian ma’tam.
Many master builders (ustadhs). . Shekib. empty spaces which defined the boundaries between the city and its hinterland. Sa‘ati and Ariyan families. ‘Ali) they directed their wealth towards the development of the popular neighbourhoods. In the first three decades of the twentieth century the two ‘Abd al-Nabis became the wealthiest building contractors in the city and supported a steady inflow of skilled labourers from Iran. as mentioned above. Mushbir. By 1888 a new district named ‘Ajam had developed close to Mukharaqa. food and services became in itself an important market in the urban economy as a result of the growth of the city and. and contributed to the building of famous pieces of Bahrain’s traditional architecture such as the house of Shaykh Khalaf al-Asfur and the Sakhir Palace. Laki and Bu Sirra as a result of the need to accommodate extended families and clients. whose head. builders (bannas) and carpenters (najjars) started their careers under their protection. which were located east of the suq and the port. ‘Ali Kazim’s fortune was partly invested in houses. Zar Haydar Banna’.42 Following a general trend among the mercantile elites of Manamah.43 Ownership of real estate represented important political capital which assured the continuation and enlargement of patronage networks. At the beginning of the twentieth century ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri brought to Bahrain the Ruyan. In 1932 and 1934 he donated a large number of properties located in Bu Sirra and in the neighbouring village of Na‘im to his children Amina. ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri built the British Political Agency in 1900 and renovated the Khamis Mosque and the British base in 1927. all of whom were involved in the building profession. In the 1920s the two Persian neighbourhoods of Mushbir and Bu Sirra were still expanding. The oldest neighbourhoods of Manamah were Kanu and Fadhil. The most successful group was that of the Ruyan. It constituted a direct source of income from rents as the control of housing. Persian notables started to invest in hawtahs and immovable property in the residential areas of the city. after the 1930s. which became overpopulated.41 The settlement of patrons and clients in the residential districts of Manamah can be followed through the development of new residential districts. while Kazruni became involved in the construction of the Victoria Memorial Hospital in 1902/3. Abu Qasim and Bomoni. started his career under ‘Abd al-Nabi. Husayn Banna’. who were employed in the construction industry. By the mid-nineteenth century the popular districts of Hammam and Mukharaqa were still in the making. As they were unable to buy properties in the suq (which was under the control of the relatives of Shaykh ‘Isa b. Building contractors such as ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri and ‘Abd al-Nabi Kazruni acquired land to build houses and hut compounds. particularly to Mukharaqa. By the 1890s many of them had moved to the expanding residential districts of western Manamah. which were occasionally referred to as farig al-‘Ajam (the Persian quarter) in the commercial and legal documents of the early twentieth century.50 Nelida Fuccaro networks along ethnic lines contributed to the accumulation of merchant capital and to the development of the infrastructure and built environment of Manamah. The first wave of Persian immigrants settled in Kanu and Fadhil. as suggested by the presence of many hawtahs. of the oil industry. Husayn.
which housed Persian Shi‘i immigrants from Bandar ‘Abbas. these localities were known by the geographic and ethnic origin of their settlers. and its gloomy and depressing aspect spoilt the image of Manamah as a modern city. attempted several times to evict the residents from their new homes by claiming ownership of the whole area.45 The history of the district of Zulm ‘Abad. the inhabitants of Zulm ‘Abad were resettled by the Manamah municipality south of ‘Awadhiyyah in 1923. Unlike most neighbourhoods in central Manamah. a turbulent group which in 1903–4 and in 1923 was involved in the disturbances against the Najdis. illustrates the precarious position of these urban communities. the settlement of impoverished peasants and unskilled labourers highlights different modes of community implantation in the city. which were named after prominent notables. a proto-working class employed mainly in the pearl industry and in menial jobs which included Baharnah. which developed as tightly knit ‘ethnic clusters’ in eastern Manamah on marshland of no agricultural value. Despite the imposition of strict inspections on cargo ships coming from Iran. They joined the dispossessed urban masses.46 . hut compounds locally known as barasti or ‘arish. Only in 1941 did the municipality of Manamah intensify efforts to keep in check the flow of illegal workers by enforcing a system of licences in conjunction with the passport office. was dotted with straw huts in 1899. The district was a major source of epidemics. head of the municipality of Manamah.44 Often employed as day labourers by Persian merchants and building contractors. These immigrants could not acquire property or enter a mutually beneficial relation with established notables. They concentrated in ‘informal’ housing. It eventually became an upmarket district when its residents started to acquire permanent land rights and rich notables built their houses there. In 1929 the majority of day labourers and dock workers in Manamah were ‘Ajam Shi‘i and were what the British Political Agent contemptuously called ‘the Persian cooly class’. The ‘Awadhiyyah district was established in the 1890s by impoverished Sunni peasants from the ‘Awaz village of southern Iran. which expanded around the Shi‘i cemetery and housed peddlers and petty shopkeepers by the 1930s. In the same year Shaykh Muhammad al-Khalifah. Baluchis and freed slaves. Originally settled on empty land in the Kanu district. which intensified in the 1910s and 1920s. and in 1904 there was only one stone building. The area. their numbers increased throughout the 1910s and 1920s.Mapping the transnational community 51 While the study of Persian mercantile elites suggests the development of residential units around patron–client alliances (protégés often residing close to their patrons). ‘Awadhiyyah expanded through successive waves of migrations. Although the name of the new neighbourhood was changed from Zulm ‘Abad (the land of oppression) to ‘Adl ‘Abad (the land of justice) in 1938 the community was still extremely poor and had not yet acquired occupancy rights. Other informal settlements inhabited by Persians were the districts of Minawiyyah and Suqayyah. they did not enter the patronage cycle by settling within the precincts of the city. which had appalling sanitation and living conditions.
Arabic and mathematics were taught alongside Shi‘i theology. Arab Sunnis. operated mainly through the local representative of Ibn Sa‘ud. In the 1920s it became a hotbed of Pahlavi propaganda. taught as primary subjects. created a very close identification between the community and the political centres of Shi‘ism. discipline and loyalty to the Shah became key moral values in the education of the children.52 Nelida Fuccaro Political loyalties The political loyalties of the inhabitants of Manamah were divided. The merchants often hired respected mullahs from Bushehr. The beginning of this school is linked to the threat of ‘Indianization’ felt by the Persian community of Manamah after the issue of the 1913 Order in Council which ushered in British direct intervention in the administration of Bahrain. particularly in the context of a politically charged event such as the celebration of the martyrdom of Husayn. a fluctuating and turbulent group. The Persian ma’tam was instrumental in fostering religious links with Iran. and looked at Iran as their protector long before the consolidation of the dynastic nationalism of the Pahlavis. the powerful merchant ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Qusaybi. In the same way as the city had developed economically and demographically through patronage networks and translocal flows. instilled ‘love for the homeland’ into the pupils. Textbooks were imported directly from Iran. history. Although not a political event in itself. the venue where pupils and their families were exposed to the new nationalist discourse coming from Iran. the presence of these mullahs as educators. In 1927 the school appointed ‘Ali Akbar Pakrowan. its political configuration was shaped by fragmented patterns of protection politics which often linked communal leaders to centres of power located outside the islands. Although subjects of the Shaykh of Bahrain. Between 1913 and 1915 a primary school was established as an offshoot of the educational activities of al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. generally wealthy pearl merchants and families of tribal origin. as it became known in 1931) moved to the Fadhil district but continued to be supported by the same merchant families associated with al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. and curriculum and educational policies were extremely progressive. Safar and Ramadan. After 1926 the school uniforms were modelled on the military uniforms of Pahlavi Iran and an Iranian flag was displayed at the front of the school building. recognized the authority of the rulers. As ‘foreigners’ the Persians fell under the protection of the British Political Agent. a teacher from Abadan. the Baharnah appealed to the British Political Agent and to their religious leaders. The Najdis. After 1915 the National Union School (al-Ittihad. Order. English. Classes in Persian language. The Shi‘is were extremely reluctant to accept the imposition of British extraterritorial jurisdiction. Students . but the community was divided. Sunni merchants accepted British protection but at the same time they could successfully appeal to the tribal rulers. as headmaster. given their long-standing grievances against the tribal government. During his tenure of office the Pahlavi government started to contribute to the school budget and students received Iranian diplomas. Shiraz and Qum as teachers of Shi‘i theology in the holy months of Muharram. geography and literature.
‘Struggle of [sic] National Identity’. in the tense political climate of the 1920s and 1930s large sections of the Arab population of the islands increasingly saw the ‘Ajam community as the longa manus of Iran. 2 ‘Ali A. Bushehri. 6. The new legislation created a sensation within the community: many applied for naturalization.47 While modern education through the activities of the Persian school started to shape the boundaries of the modern transnational community. who were considered Bahraini nationals according to the 1929 provisions.49 The extent of the amount of property owned by the ‘Ajam community became apparent after the enforcement of compulsory registration in 1930. unpublished typescript. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–63). II. others attempted to retain their properties without adopting Bahraini citizenship by transferring them to their sons. For many Persians the adoption of Bahraini nationality in the late 1930s represents a landmark in the history of the community as ‘the single most important event which started to alienate those strong historical links between the ‘Ajam of Bahrain and Iran’. the administration issued the Nationality and Property Laws in 1937. Following repeated official complaints from the Tehran government. the Bahraini government issued a proclamation in 1929 to the effect that all persons born in Bahrain of foreign parents would be considered Bahraini subjects unless registered at the British Political Agency. which introduced modern notions of citizenship and restricted the right of ownership of immovable property to Bahraini nationals. the police force and in the commercial court (majlis al-‘urf ) heightened fears of direct Iranian interference in Bahrain. 1865). . this was a clear attempt to bring the Persian community under the Shaykh’s jurisdiction. 2 vols. (London and Cambridge: Macmillan. vol. 219. often arousing protests from Arab residents. Iran did not recognize Bahrain as a sovereign state until independence from British control in 1970. Bahraini ‘Ajams held both Bahraini passports and Iranian identity cards which allowed them to travel to Iran.. G. Until then. 47 pp. p.Mapping the transnational community 53 marched every day in their uniforms with an Iranian flag in front of the procession on their way to the football playground. which shaped the political outlook of at least two generations of Manamah’s ‘Ajams. which considered the Bahraini ‘Ajams as Persian subjects. 1995. The presence of a rich and influential group with representatives on the municipal council of Manama. Fuelled by the public display of loyalty to Iran by the pupils of the Persian school. Palgrave.48 Given the reluctance of most ‘Ajams to register as British protégés.51 Those who maintained close contacts with Iran auctioned their properties and went back to their homeland. In this connection the 1937 legislation was conceived as the solution to what was widely perceived as ‘the growing Iranian problem’ in Bahrain.52 Notes 1 W.50 The Persians were asked to renounce their political allegiance to Iran in exchange for the maintenance of their assets in Bahrain. p. Until the 1950s rich Persians sent their children there.
R/15/1/315. Middle East Journal 13/2 (1959): 156–69. 1970). ‘Ritual Devotion among Shi‘i in Bahrain’ (PhD thesis: University of London. T. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’. Oman and Central Arabia. Kemball. files R/15/2/101. chaps. 23 December 1931. G. 1980). 1873–1971 (Manamah: Banurama al-Khalij. Rumaihi. 4th edn. and Tajir. The Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. An Impregnable Island (Manamah: Ministry of Information. ‘The Politics of Protection in the Gulf: The Arab Rulers and the British Resident in the Nineteenth Century Gulf ’. 2004. Lorimer. 1986). London) (hereafter IOR). in The Arab Gulf States: Steps towards Political Participation (New York and London: Praeger. The fish. Critique 17 (2000): 49–81. Identity and Authenticity in the Middle East (Richmond: Curzon. vol. Tribe and State.173–80 on oil and labour relations. 16 Lorimer. Bushehri. 12 J. Meijer (ed. at pp. 8 See India Office Records (British Library. ‘Isa al-Khalifah dated Jumada al-Awwal 1358/June–July 1939. p. Fuccaro. ‘Abdallah al-Tajir. 105.) from the year 1716 to the year 1817 prepared by Mr. 6. and from the latter period to the . pp. Schumacher. pp. 10 vols. ‘Struggle of [sic] National Identity’.). Tribe and State. H. 1960. II. pp. with continuations of the same from the year 1817 to the close of the year 1831 by Lieutenant S. fruit and vegetable markets were controlled by Shaykh Hamad b. pp. Francis Warden. by Charles Belgrave. pp. pp. pp. 251. Beiling. pp. ‘Isa who in 1923 took over the rulership of Bahrain from his father after he was deposed by the British. the Shaikh and the Administration (London: Croom Helm. p. B. 1999) for a discussion of cosmopolitanism in relation to both nationalism and Islam. vol. 1990). 85–117. 2 vols. Kervran. 1995. pp. Khuri. H. 1983). Lawson. vol. 6 N. and M. 1994). Britain. 5 Jumada al-Thani 1315/31 October 1897 and Jumada al-Thani 1317/October–November 1899. 13–15. 5 See R. 9 Khuri. J. 62–70. Cosmopolitanism. 98. ‘Aqd al-lal fi tarikh awal (Manamah: Mu’assasah al-Ayyam. 251. 1988).. Bahrain: Social and Political Change. 161–235. Bahrain 1920–1945. in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949. (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing. al-Muharraq: ’umran madinah khalijiyyah. Khuri. 1989). 167–92. Rumaihi. The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 194–217. ‘Recent Developments in Labour Relations in Bahrain’. The meat market was in the hands of Shaykh Salman. pp. ‘Bahrain’. 47–72. pp. R/15/2/806. 2 and 3. 14 On customs see IOR. V/23/217. Hennel. Onley. Larsen. A. Bahrain: Social and Political Change since the First World War (London and New York: Bowker. 1987). ‘Administration Report on the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Maskat Political Agency for 1873–1874’. 10 C. al-Tajir. R/15/2/807. p.). Jumada al-Thani 1330/May–June 1912. 15 Bushehri Archive ( Manamah) (hereafter BA). 1976). unpublished typescript. 66. ‘Historical Sketch of the Utoobee Tribe of Arabs (Bahrein. Gazetteer. 7 On the reforms see F. Bahrain. E. 3 and 4. 11 M. 4 See M. Bahrain in the 16th Century. Tribe and State in Bahrain. W. chaps. p. also quoted by J. R/15/1/341 and L/P&S/10/81. Wali. ‘A Note on Land Tenure by the Ruling Family in Bahrain’. Life and Land Use on the Bahraini Islands (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 17 IOR. R/15/1/315 and R/15/1/331. republished Farnborough: Gregg International. 89. A. II: Geographical and Statistical. G. Peterson. particularly text of agreements between Shaykh ‘Isa and Indian merchants. on the 1923 and 1904 –5 disturbances. 35–77. nephew of Shaykh ‘Isa: hibah document from Shaykh ‘Isa. I. 60–3. F. Belgrave. (Gerrards Cross: Archive Editions. p. and I. Welcome to Bahrain (Manama: Stourbridge Mark & Moody Printers. 1987). letter to Shaykh Hamad b. Bahrain: The Modernisation of Autocracy (Boulder: Westview. vol. 41–53. 50–74. New Arabian Studies.54 Nelida Fuccaro 3 ‘Ali A. Bahrain 1920–1945. Lawson. from 1832 to August 1844 by Lieutenant A. D. J. p. 13 IOR. 1998). 47 pp. I. 1908. Muhammad ‘A. E.
Mapping the transnational community 55
close of the year 1853 by Lieutenant H. F. Disbrowe, in ‘Selections from the Records of the Government of India 1849–1937’, fiche 1094, pp. 362, 367–8 and 383 ff.; ‘Memoranda on the resources, localities, and relations of the tribes inhabiting the Arabian shores of the Persian Gulf, 1845’ by A. B. Kemball, Assistant Resident at Bushire, in ‘Selections from the Records of the Government of India 1849–1937’, fiche 1090–1, p.106; Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. I: Historical, pp. 841–3 and 866–72; Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey, vol. II, p. 209. From 118,000,000 rupees in 1873–4 to 774,990,000 rupees in 1899–1900: Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. I, p. 2252. Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. II, p. 1160. For the history of British extraterritorial jurisdiction in the Gulf see H. M. Albaharna, British Extra-territorial Jurisdiction in the Gulf, 1913–1971 (Slough: Archive Editions, 1998). On the history, administration and records of the court of the Political Agent in Bahrain see IOR, catalogue of the series R/15/3 (‘Political Agency, Bahrain: Political Agent’s Court, 1913–1948’) and its introduction (pp. 107–22); J. Onley, ‘The Infrastructure of Informal Empire: A Study of Britain’s Native Agency in Bahrain, c.1816–1900’ (DPhil thesis: University of Oxford, 2001), pp. 166–75. BA, letter no. 113 of 1905 from Political Agent to ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri; author’s conversation with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Manamah, 22 April 2000. Evidence on the sale of land to Manamah merchants by members of the al-Khalifah family is often fragmentary but well documented in local archives and in the archives of the Department of Land Registration (Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Manama). See also IOR, R/15/2/807, memo from Belgrave to Political Agent, 19 November 1931. Official complaints started to be put forward in 1899 by the cousin of the ruler Shaykh Hamad b. Muhammad al-Khalifah to the British Resident in Bushehr. See IOR, R/15/1/316 and R/15/2/10. On customs R/15/1/317, ‘Note on an Interview between His Excellency the Viceroy and the Shaykh of Bahrain’, 27 November 1903; R/15/1/315, correspondence from Assistant Political Resident in Bushehr to Political Resident, 28 May1899. Conversation with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Manamah, 15 June1998. Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. I, pp. 2049–67, 2096–7, 2128–36 and 2595–6, vol. II, p. 1095. I am indebted to James Onley for having drawn my attention on the shift of currency in this period. By 1901 new krans and nickel coins were put in circulation by the Persian government in an attempt to energize the local currency. See ‘Administration Report on the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Maskat Political Agency for 1898–1899’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. IV, p. 7 and ‘Administration Report for 1901–1902’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. IV, p. 1. See ‘Administration Reports on the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Maskat Political Agency from 1873 to 1905’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. I, p. 5; Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. I, pp. 2052 and 2132. Value of tea imports: 1873 200 Rs, 1880 18,500 Rs, 1904 31,400 Rs; Persian cloaks: 1873 4,500 Rs, 1880 15,000 Rs, 1901 21,900 Rs; rosewater: 1873 5,800 Rs, 1880 3,100 Rs, 1904 10,500 Rs; liquors: 1873 500 Rs, 1880 650 Rs, 1904 3,000 Rs; books: 1880 1,000 Rs, 1904 11,350 Rs; shoes: 1877 1,125 Rs, 1880 1,750 Rs, 1904 7,570 Rs. ‘Administration Reports for the Years 1873–1874, 1880–1881, 1901–1902 and 1904–1905’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. I, pp. 54 –61, vol. II, pp. 134–43, vol. V, pp. 107–13 and 152–3; Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey, vol. II, pp. 211–12; Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. II, p. 345. ‘Administration Report for the years 1902–1903’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. V, pp. 35 and 180. They were ‘Ali Haydar Banna’ Ruyan, Mahmud Bushehri, Husayn ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri and Khalil Dawani. BA, handwritten minutes of first meeting of the committee, 15 Shawwal 1371.
18 19 20
30 I am extremely grateful to ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri for having shared with me information and documentation on his family and other ‘Ajam groups of Bahrain. 31 ‘Ali A. Bushehri, ‘The Struggle of a Family’, BA, typescript, n.d., 222 pp., p. 114, ‘List of Persian merchants – Shi‘i’ and BA, ‘Family trees of Beder, Dawani and Beljik familes’. 32 BA, ‘Kazruni family tree’. 33 Onley, ‘The Infrastructure of Informal Empire’, pp. 191–227 and 238. 34 Onley, ‘The Infrastructure of Informal Empire’; ‘Safar family tree by Aqa Muhammad Rahim Safar, 1898’, ‘Safar Family tree’ and ‘Sharif family tree’, appendix E 4 (a), (b) and 5. 35 As in the case of the powerful Kanu family. See K. M. Kanoo, The House of Kanoo: A Century of an Arabian Family Business (London: London Centre of Arab Studies, 1997). 36 Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. II, p. 1160. 37 ‘Ali A. Bushehri, ‘Bahrain Population’, unpublished typescript, 1999, 7 pp., p. 4. 38 BA, ‘Daftar ma’tam al-‘ajam al-kabir, 1342–1372 (1929–1951)’. Information on waqf properties in BA, ‘Daftar buzur (1 Muharram 1351–10 Muharram 1352/7 May 1932–5 May 1933)’; ‘Ilan amin al-sunduq (‘Ali Kazim Bushehri), 19 Dhu al-Hijjah 1371/9 September 1952’; ‘A. Seyf, al-Ma’tam fil bahrayn ( Manamah: Matba‘ah al-Sharqiyyah, 1995), pp. 108–11. 39 Bushehri, ‘The Struggle of a Family’, pp. 115–19 and 121. 40 Ibid., pp. 124–5. 41 Oral history of the Bushehri family, Manamah, June 1998; ‘Ali A. Bushehri, ‘The Master Builder of Bahrain’, The Gulf Mirror, February 1987, issue no. 8. 42 Fuccaro, ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’, pp. 66–72; Bushehri, ‘The Struggle of a Family’, p. 111. 43 BA, hibah documents dated 10 Shawwal 1350 and 18 Ramadan 1353/17 February 1932. 44 Confidential despatch from Political Agent Bahrain to Political Resident Bushehr, 7 April 1929, no. C-50 of 1929, IOR, L/P&S/10/1045; R/15/2/1925, ‘Jalsat baladiyyah al-manama’, 10 Jumada al-Thani 1361/11 October 1932. 45 There are no written historical records on the development of these neighbourhoods. See sketch attached to letter of S. M. Zwemer to American Board of Foreign Missions, 28 November 1899, Historical Documentation Centre ( Rifa‘, Bahrain). While in the 1930s and 1940s ‘Awadhiyyah became a quarter of modern Manamah, Minawiyyah and Suqayyah were integrated in the new residential district of al-Hurah. 46 Correspondence from Political Resident Bushehr to Government of India, 10 November 1923, no. 626-S of 1923, IOR, R/15/2/127; confidential correspondence from Charles Belgrave to Political Agent, 28 March 1938, no. 196/S.F., R/15/2/807; Political Agent minutes, 27 February and 6 April 1936 and Jalsat baladiyyah al-Manamah, 9 and 23 Jumada al-Awwal 1347/23 October and 6 November 1928, R/15/2/1923. 47 ‘Ali A. Bushehri, ‘The National Union School’, unpublished typescript, n.d., 17 pp.; BA, contract of rent of the first school building, 1 Rabi‘ al-Thani 1334/5 February 1916; exam certificate, 10 Rabi‘ al-Thani 1335/3 February 1917; curriculum of the National Union School (dabistan ittihad melli bahrayn), 1956. 48 IOR, R/15/2/150, ‘Ilan no.1101/17/1347, 17 Ramadan 1347/27 February 1929 (reissue no. 50/1351, 4 Dhu al-Hijjah 1351/31 March 1933). 49 Bahrain Nationality Law, 17 February 1937/ King’s Regulation no. 1 of 1937 under article 70 (b) of the Bahrein Order in Council, 8 May 1937/King’s Regulation no. 2 of 1937 made under article 70 of the Bahrein Order-in-Council, 1913, 9 September 1937, in King’s Regulations, Order in Council and Bahrain’s Regulations, 1913–1958 (London: HMSO, 1958); BA ‘Qanun imtilak amlak al-ghayr al-manqula fil bahrayn bi wasitat al-ajanib’, 6 Dhu al-Hijjah 1355/18 February 1937. 50 ‘Note on the Persian Communities at Bahrain’ by Political Agent, 4 November 1929 included in Correspondence to Political Resident, IOR, L/P&S/10/1045; file R/15/2/150; Tajir, Bahrain 1920–1945, pp. 25–6.
Mapping the transnational community 57
51 IOR, R/15/2/151. 52 M. al-Shuja‘i, ‘al-Idtihad al-‘irqi fil bahrayn “al-‘ajam’ ”, unpublished typescript, n.d., 74 pp., p. 15. Quotation translated by the author.
Official reports and typescripts
Bushehri, ‘A. A. ‘Struggle of [sic] National Identity’, unpublished typescript, 1995, 47 pp. Bushehri, ‘A. A. ‘Bahrain Population’, unpublished typescript, 1999, 7 pp. Bushehri, ‘A. A. ‘The National Union School’, unpublished typescript, n.d., 17 pp. ‘Historical Sketch of the Utoobee Tribe of Arabs (Bahrein) from the year 1716 to the year 1817 prepared by Mr Francis Warden; with continuations of the same from the year 1817 to the close of the year 1831 by Lieutenant S. Hennel; from 1832 to August 1844 by Lieutenant A. B. Kemball; and from the latter period to the close of the year 1853 by Lieutenant H. F. Disbrowe in Selections from the Records of the Government of India 1849–1937’, V/23/217, fiche 1094, India Office Records. King’s Regulations, Order in Council and Bahrain’s Regulations, 1913–1958 (London: HMSO, 1958). Lorimer, J. G. The Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia, 2 vols. (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing, 1908; republished Farnborough: Gregg International, 1970). ‘Memoranda on the Resources, Localities, and Relations of the Tribes Inhabiting the Arabian Shores of the Persian Gulf, 1845’ by A. B. Kemball, Assistant Resident at Bushire, in ‘Selections from the Records of the Government of India 1849–1937’, V/23/217, fiche1090–1, India Office Records. The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949 (Gerrards Cross: Archive Editions, 1986), 10 vols. al-Shuja‘i, M. ‘al-Idtihad al-‘irqi fil bahrayn “al-‘ajam’”, unpublished typescript, n.d., 74 pp.
Archival materials India Office Records (British Library, London)
R/15/1 series (Gulf Residency Records) Files 315, 316, 317, 331, 341 R/15/2 series (Bahrain Political Agency Records, 1900–47) Files 10, 101, 127, 150, 151, 806, 807, 1923, 1925 R/15/3 series (Political Agency, Bahrain: Political Agent’s Court, 1913–1948) Introduction to catalogue, pp. 107–22 L/P&S/10 series (Political and Secret Department Correspondence) Files 81, 1045
Bushehri Archive (Manamah, Bahrain)
Documentation from the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir (Manamah), 1342–72 Documentation on the Persian School (Manamah), 1334–76 Hibah documents series, family collection
Books and articles
Albaharna, H. M. British Extra-territorial Jurisdiction in the Gulf, 1913–1971, Slough: Archive Editions, 1998. Beiling, W. A. ‘Recent Developments in Labour Relations in Bahrain’, Middle East Journal 13/2 (1959): 156–69. Belgrave, J. H. D. Welcome to Bahrain, Manamah: Stourbridge Mark & Moody Printers, 1960, 4th edn. Bushehri, ‘A. A. ‘The Master Builder of Bahrain’, The Gulf Mirror, February 1987, issue no. 8. Fuccaro, N. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’, Critique 17 (2000): 49–81. Kanoo, K. M. The House of Kanoo: A Century of an Arabian Family Business, London: London Centre of Arab Studies, 1997. Kervran, M. Bahrain in the 16th Century. An Impregnable Island, Manamah: Ministry of Information, 1998. Khuri, F. I. Tribe and State in Bahrain. The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980. Larsen, C. E. Life and Land Use on the Bahraini Islands, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. Lawson, F. H. Bahrain: The Modernisation of Autocracy, Boulder: Westview, 1989. Meijer, R. (ed.) Cosmopolitanism, Identity and Authenticity in the Middle East, Richmond: Curzon, 1999. Onley, J. ‘The Infrastructure of Informal Empire: A Study of Britain’s Native Agency in Bahrain, c.1816–1900’, D.Phil. thesis: University of Oxford, 2001. Onley, J. ‘The Politics of Protection in the Gulf: The Arab Rulers and the British Resident in the Nineteenth Century Gulf ’, New Arabian Studies, vol. 6, 2004. Palgrave, W. G. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–63), 2 vols., London and Cambridge: Macmillan, 1865. Peterson, J. E. The Arab Gulf States: Steps towards Political Participation, New York and London: Praeger, 1988. Rumaihi, M. G. Bahrain: Social and Political Change since the First World War, London and New York: Bowker, 1976. Schumacher, I. A. ‘Ritual Devotion among Shi‘i in Bahrain’, Ph.D. thesis: University of London, 1987. Seyf, ‘A. al-Ma’tam fil bahrayn, Manamah: Matba’ah al-Sharqiyyah, 1995. al-Tajir, M. ’A. Bahrain 1920–1945. Britain, the Shaikh and the Administration, London: Croom Helm, 1987. al-Tajir, M. ’A. ‘Aqd al-lal fi tarikh awal, Manamah: Mu’assasah al-Ayyam, 1994. Wali, T. al-Muharraq: ’umran madinah khalijiyyah, 1873–1971, Manamah: Banurama al-Khalij, 1990. The author is indebted to ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri’s generosity and to the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Board and Leverhulme Trust which have funded my research in Bahrain in 2000 and 2002–3.
. a Persian dealer carrying horses to Bombay. orthodox Hindus conducting their ablutions in a corner. . one or two negroes. and its frock-like overall. . . Thus the gay-coloured dress of the southern Persian. W. a poshtin (sheepskin) waistcoat. but rarely any more diversified than this. with shining contrast of skin and teeth. . Cutch. .3 Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf The case of the Safar family1 James Onley Mixed with the indigenous population [of Manamah] are numerous strangers and settlers. but not of them’. and voluminous white pantaloons. and religion. . . . . Arabs in their soiled silk kefiehs and camel’shair head-bands . its blue and red turban. . or cooking the food which no one else may defile by contact. – surely a more curious study in polyglot or polychrome could not well be conceived. a fat Turk sipping his gritty coffee. language. while a small but unmistakable colony of Indians. attracted from other lands by the profits of either commerce or the pearl fishery. and their vicinity. Parsi merchants decked in Bombay-made clothes of doubtful English cut. copper-coloured. . saying their prayers . an Afghan with unkempt black locks curling upon his shoulders. the white robe of Nejed. Indian Buniahs in preternaturally tight white cotton pants. keep up here all their peculiarities of costume and manner. men with silver rings round their big toes and pearl buckles in their ears. Palgrave. merchants by profession. Portuguese half-castes . let me describe the last recollection that is imprinted upon the retina of the traveller’s memory. . . dust-coloured. . ‘among them. men black. stuck sideways on their heads. Persia and the Persian Question (1892)3 . the saffron-stained vest of ’Oman. . and with daintily-embroidered caps. Mussulman pilgrims from the holy places of Sunni or Shiah. and still retaining more or less the physiognomy and garb of their native countries. . . slate-coloured. half dressed. I have seen many quaint conglomerations of colour. and live among the motley crowd. and awaking bubbles from his eternal kalian. some of whom have been established here for many generations back. George Curzon. bearded Beluchis. its white silk-fringed cloth worn Banian fashion round the waist. . are often to be seen mingling with the light garments of Bahreyn. race. . The fore deck of a Gulf steamer presents one of the most curious spectacles that can be imagined. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1865)2 In taking leave of the Persian Gulf. men wholly dressed. and mainly from Guzerat. G. and almost naked . and white. and the striped gown of Bagdad.
. certainly. They dominated the import–export sector of the region. Foremost among the Gulf ’s transnationals were the merchants who. culture and activities of one Gulf merchant family in the nineteenth century: the Safar family of Hillah. Denys Lombard and Jean Aubin (2000). occupied and governed by Arabs.5 There have also been some recent articles exploring the transnational connections of Gulf Arab ports and their merchant communities. whose language and culture determined its . Some managed the customs administrations in a number of Gulf ports. speaking two or more languages and keeping homes in two or more countries. Muscat. Hudaydah and Bombay. They lived dual lives. Calvin Allen (1981) and Philip Curtin (1984) – have greatly expanded our understanding of the historical transnational connections between the Middle East and Asia.7 One of the reasons for this is the desire of Gulf Arab families today to downplay or deny their transnational heritage in response to the Arabization policies of the Gulf Arab governments. from the region known as Fars. Lingah was an Arab town. the decision to return to Arabia must have represented a considerable surrender of much of what made life pleasant. This chapter examines the transnational connections. Mocha (al-Mukha). for my own family. At the time. . Some came to play a central role in regional politics by acting as intermediaries between foreign governments or companies and local rulers and their subjects. Bushehr (Bushire). but merchant families per se are not their focus. in which she discusses nine families in the space of seven pages. Exciting new works by Patricia Risso (1995). the town on the Iranian coast in which my forefathers had settled. Manamah. This desire is well illustrated by an introductory passage from the autobiography of the present Emirati Ambassador to Britain. Thus. Basrah. and returned to our ancestral Arabia . . Transnational merchant studies and the Gulf Transnational merchant studies is an emerging sub-field within Middle Eastern and South Asian studies. Ulrike Freitag and William Clarence-Smith (1997). because much of my early life was influenced by the fact that in my grandfather’s time my family crossed the waters of the Gulf from the coastal plains of Iran. Claude Markovits (2000) and others – building on the pioneering works of Ashin Das Gupta (1960–92).4 The closest we have to a study of transnational merchant families in the Gulf is Hala Fattah’s 1997 book on regional trade in Arabia and Iraq. Easa Saleh al-Gurg: Where do I begin? Before I was born. was evidently good.6 Those studies of Gulf merchant families that do exist give little or no attention to the transnational aspects of these families. connected eastern Arabia to the wider world. life in Lingah. as the quotations above vividly illustrate.60 James Onley Introduction The nineteenth-century Gulf was a remarkably transnational space. more than any other group. Shiraz. but without the use of local archives. Though it was located on the Persian coast.
1 The Gulf in its wider geographical context.Samarkand IRAQ Mashhad Tehran Kabul Isfahan Hamadan Kermanshah Dizful Shushtar BAGHDAD VILAYET Cairo Suez Canal Baghdad Karbala Hillah EGYPT Basrah Kerman Shiraz Ahvaz Muhammarah Behbahan BASRAH VILAYET PERSIA (IRAN) AFGHANISTAN A Bushire Delhi Bandar Abbas Bahrain THE GULF Jask B NEPAL R Medina NAJD A BALUCHISTAN Chahabar Gwadar Karachi GULF OF OMAN Muscat KUTCH GUJARAT SIND Jedda Mecca ARABIA C O A S BENGAL T INDIA Calcutta RED SEA OMAN ARABIAN SEA Surat Bombay Hudaydah Hyderabad Mocha Aden Madras SOMALI COAST AFRICA INDIAN OCEAN Map 3. .
. fully sovereign state with Muscat as its capital. Another reason why there have been so few studies of Gulf merchant families.8 Al-Gurg goes on to emphasize his Arab heritage and to downplay the fact that his family name is not Arab at all.62 James Onley character . public discussion about the Persian. Indian and African mothers of past shaykhs and shaykhas is strongly discouraged. . The official language is Arabic and the Qatari people are part of the Arab nation. as their national constitutions make clear: Kuwait is an Arab State. The people of Kuwait are a part of the Arab Nation. My immediate forebears were pearl merchants and landowners and enjoyed the products of that life abundantly. Historical records of families such as the Kanoos. . Bahrain. . while Gulf nationals with no Arab ancestry whatsoever are barred from all but the most junior positions. Islam is the official religion of the country and the Shariah is the principal source of legislation . is the scarcity of sources. Islamic national character. Arab. and destiny. The people of the Federation are one and are a part of the Arab nation.10 The Kingdom of Bahrain is a fully sovereign independent Islamic Arab State whose population is part of the Arab nation and whose territory is part of the Arab homeland.12 Qatar is a sovereign and independent Arab state. language. not Persian. . Islamic. likely to be presented with a tailored past serving present-day interests. In the Gulf today. The distinctly Arab character of Lingah and of my own background is evidenced by the fact that every one of these deeds is in Arabic. al-Zarbs and Safars are few and far . . since 2000.16 Shi‘i Arabs are also discriminated against. let alone those with transnational connections.17 A historian relying on accounts of a Gulf Arab family provided by the family itself is. . I still retain the title deeds to the lands which we owned in Dishgaan and Lingah.9 Gulf Arabs with a transnational heritage such as al-Gurg are sensitive about their genealogy because identity is a political issue. .14 The Sultanate of Oman is an independent. .11 The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion. Gulf nationals unable to claim Arabian ancestry and tribal affiliation are normally barred from senior positions in government. therefore.15 The ruling families themselves have set an example by erasing all evidence of their transnational connections from their national histories. The only exceptions appear to be Oman and. to which it is connected by a shared religion. but to varying degrees from state to state. but Persian. independent and fully sovereign . The Gulf Arab states have become preoccupied with cultural autonomy and the maintenance of a purely Arabian.13 The Federation [of the UAE] is a part of the wider Arab homeland.
and houses and property in Bushehr. Iraq. These records had been long neglected: they were covered in dust and cobwebs. They now form the bulk of the Kanoo Archive at Khalid’s private residence in Bahrain. Khalid raced to the house. a considerable status symbol in the Gulf. In 1989. the Safar family might well have discarded them and I would not be writing about the Safar family today. the contractor who had been hired to demolish the building casually mentioned to Khalid that some old papers had been left in the house.19 The government of Bahrain’s destruction in the early 1980s of the tens of thousands of Dilmun burial mounds. Khalid Kanoo – the Group Managing Director of the Kanoo Group of Companies. artefacts and buildings in the Gulf Arab states. and infested with insects. he can tell you far more about the destruction of historical collections. and possibly Hillah and Basrah. In the nineteenth century at least three members of the Safar family ranked as Grade I merchants – the wealthiest and the most influential men in the Gulf after the local ruling elite. Muscat.23 Land-owning was. The family’s . Had it not been for Akbar’s preservation of the Safar family records. Manamah. The Safar family The Safars were prosperous general merchants in the nineteenth century. Chairman of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Mocha. tells yet another rescue story. later working on their own or with an uncle. Members of the Safar family typically moved from one house to another as their careers progressed.22 The family’s prosperity is reflected in their substantial property holdings: date plantations near Basrah and Manamah. Persia and India. importing. He broke in and found 46 boxes of company and family records dating from 1899 to 1955. The day before the building’s scheduled demolition. which he found locked and boarded up. and still is. initially working with their fathers. Khalid carted the records home and had them cleaned and treated with insecticide. Manamah. Although the family was dispersed throughout Arabia. Muscat.21 These merchant houses operated as a loose conglomerate – sometimes engaged in joint ventures with each other. Mocha. including the loss of his own family records in 1973 while he was away from Bahrain reading for a degree in history. Countless collections have been discarded since the 1950s by uninterested family members.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 63 between. Unfortunately. Hudaydah and Bombay’s prestigious Fort district. Hudaydah and Bombay.20 They maintained an extensive business network with merchant houses in Bushehr. the family decided to replace its historical home in Manamah with a modern building. exporting and shipping goods of every description throughout the Gulf region and beyond. the caretaker of the Safar family records in Bahrain. which contained a treasure-trove of ancient artefacts dating from 2000–600 BCE. sometimes operating on their own. is symbolic of this widespread and ongoing destruction of historical documents. Bushehr was at the centre of the family’s activities in the nineteenth century. Shiraz. and caretaker of the Kanoo family archive in Bahrain – tells a dramatic story of how he rescued his family’s historical records from destruction.18 ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri.
‘I am of Arab descent.24 The size and prestigious location of the house.28 This claim is supported by none other than Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar himself. Bushehr. known as Bayt Safar (Safar House). however. c.27 The Safars of Bahrain.’29 The family tree drawn by him shows him to be the great-grandson of Hajji Safar. The ethnic identity of the Safar family in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is difficult to establish because the Iranian and Bahraini branches of the family do not agree on this aspect of their history. clearly shows him wearing a Persian-style turban – see Figure 3.25 This belief is supported by a detailed genealogical account of the family written by a traveller who visited the Safars in Bushehr in 1896.1 Bayt Safar (left). impressive building located on the waterfront in the Kuti district of town next to the residences of the Governor of Bushehr and Britain’s Political Resident in the Gulf. who once explained.1970 (Bushehri Archive. Further evidence of a Persian origin is the fact that virtually all members of the family spoke Farsi as a mother tongue and that most had Persian titles such as agha (which they pronounced ‘au’ as only the Bakhtiyari do).1. believe that their male ancestors were Shi‘i Arabs from southern Iraq. Bahrain). .30 Although Hajji Safar later moved to Persia.64 James Onley principal Bushehr residence was a large.26 Many of the Safars were Persian subjects. and the Gulf Residency headquarters (right). Persian – possibly Bakhtiyari (a tribal group from western Persia that speaks a dialect of Farsi). a Shi‘i Arab born in Hillah. mirza and khan. Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar.2. but my family has been many years resident in Persia. the Governor of Bushehr’s residence (centre). symbolized the family’s great affluence – see Figure 3. The Safars of Bushehr believe that the family originates from Hamadan in western Iran and is. 35 miles south of the Ottoman provincial capital of Baghdad. and a photograph taken in the late 1890s of the head of the family. therefore. his nineteenth-century descendants maintained Bait Safar Gulf Residency Figure 3.
Turkomans. c.33 The Arab–Persian hybridity of the Safar family is evident from their marriage patterns. Bahrain.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 65 Figure 3. it seems that the best description of many of the nineteenth-century Safars is that some of them were Persianized Arabs or Persians of Arab descent (similar to the hawalah32) and some of them were Arabized Persians. summarized in Table 3. speak Farsi as . 1778–1900 Persian Arab African Indian 21 (10 from the Sharif family) 10 (6 from the Safar family) 4 (all Abyssinian slaves) 1 a strong connection with Iraq and Arabia: many were born there.1898–9 (Bushehri Archive.31 All things considered. ‘Persian’ refers to the indigenous inhabitants of Persia who speak Persian (Farsi) as their mother tongue. many lived there.34 The Safars of Bushehr today have an Iranian identity – they claim Persian roots. many owned property there.1.2 Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (centre) and his Arab staff. although he is wearing a Persian-style turban. Table 3. he is also wearing an Arab ‘abah or bisht (cloak).1 Known Safar spouses. Kurds. Azeris. In the twentieth century this hybridity gradually disappeared. In this study. and think of themselves as Arabs. A closer inspection of the photograph of Muhammad Rahim reveals that. The Safars of Bahrain today have an Arab identity – they were born in Bahrain to a Shi‘i Arab mother from Karbala in southern Iraq. Shahsevans. rather than to all the peoples of Persia (pre-modern Iran) such as the Persians. speak Arabic as their mother tongue. Arabs. and many spoke Arabic. Qashqa’is and Baluchis. Bahrain). many were buried there.
he handed the business over to his second eldest son. Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan. looked after the family’s business interests in India.41 At some point between 1835 and 1839. Bombay and Bushehr. carried on as before. took over the family business in Bushehr.37 At some point before 1778. at the age of 24. three of whom became merchants – see the family tree in Table 3.200).42 In the last year or two of his life. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar. he is given the title of beg (chief). He was married to the sister of Shaykh Hajji Jabir Khan al-Muhaisin. Mocha.000 (Rs 3. 1819–81) and a Shi‘i Arab. where another merchant house was managed by Muhammad ‘Ali’s brother Hajji Hasan. during which time he purchased two large date plantations near Basrah. who remained there for the rest of his life. Bayt Safar. as was Muscat. he moved to Bushehr. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul (b. and think of themselves as Iranians. These estates remained in family hands for over a hundred years and were worth nearly a quarter of a million rupees by the late nineteenth century. his two sons in Bombay. He may have purchased his substantial properties in Bombay’s Fort district at this time. and his eldest son. From Mocha. He lived there for six or seven years. a title used both by the Ottomans and the Bakhtiyari. He continued to live in Bahrain until 1842.35 The Iraqi. which are no longer in touch with the Bahraini and Iranian branches. Omani and Indian branches of the family.44 One can estimate the degree of his affluence from a loan he made in 1863 to the Commander of HMS Clyde for Ks 8. Persia’s principal port in the Gulf. who was the Shaykh of Muhammarah in south-western Persia (r. Muhammad ‘Ali took leave of his post to go on hajj to Mecca. By the 1850s. Hajji Muhammad Jafar and Hajji Muhammad Hasan.66 James Onley a mother tongue. Muhammad ‘Ali moved to Mocha. ‘Abd al-Nabi had become one of the principal merchants of Bushehr. where he established a merchant house. c. when he moved to Bombay where his brother Muhammad Saddiq lived.2. Hajji Hasan and Hajji Ghulam Husain. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar. his son in Mocha. The eldest son. Hillah and Basrah may have also been included in this network. Muhammad ‘Ali moved to his father’s hometown of Hillah. Yemeni. was born in Bushehr in 1778. a loan which enabled the Clyde to return . Muhammad Saddiq.36 Hajji Safar was probably born in the 1740s and appears to have been a man of considerable status and wealth. Muhammad ‘Ali moved to Bahrain where he established another merchant house. He had four sons. Bahrain and Bombay. In 1802.38 In 1809. having established an extensive family business network with sons in Bushehr. On the Safar family tree drawn in the 1960s. Muhammad ‘Ali moved back to his hometown of Bushehr. may similarly define their identity in relation to their locale. Bahrain.39 After trading for 20 years in Yemen.43 After Muhammad ‘Ali’s death in 1845. known locally as Bayt al-‘Ajami (the Persian’s House).40 which was about three times the monthly salary of Britain’s highly paid Political Resident in the Gulf.000.1805). Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan had been born in Hillah around 1803 and had worked under his father in Mocha. One can estimate the degree of his affluence during this time from a loan he made to the East India Company for Rs 7. which suggests that he was a merchant. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul.
Bahrain (1893–1900). Bushehr in 1881.1830s–93) and Bahrain (1893–1900). ‘Abd al-Wahhab Lived in Muscat. Hajji Ghulam Husain Hajji Hasan A merchant. Lived in Muscat and died there. Bibi Khair al-Nisa Married to Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif. Now lives in Bahrain. Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif Born in Bushehr (c. ‘Adel A prominent businessman in Bahrain and a former Mukhtar (District Mayor) of Manamah. and Ahvaz (Persia). Khadijah Lived in Bahrain.1870– 93.2 The Safar family tree (abridged) Hajji Safar Beg Likely a merchant. Persia.1803–84) A merchant. Died in A merchant. Bushehr. Died in 1929 in Hillah. Born in Hillah (c. France (1995–2000). Died Bushehr (c. Agha Muhammad Saddiq A merchant in Bombay (c. Bombay. Hajji Muhammad Hasan Lived in Shiraz. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar A merchant. Dr Wadi‘ Dr Suhayla A consultant The wife of Dr ‘Ali Fakroo. ‘Abd al-Rasul Lived in Muhammarah (Persia).1870). A merchant.1820/30s–56). ‘Abd al-Razzaq Lived in Muscat. Bombay (1842–?) and Bushehr (?–1845). and Basra (1924–40). Dr Thoraya A veterinarian in Bahrain. traded in Bushehr. Kuwait (1900–04). Born in Bushehr. lived in Mocha. Muhammad Lived in Bushehr. Died in 1892.1885–95) ‘Abd al-Khaliq Lived in Muscat. died in Baghdad (c. gastroenterologist Bahrain‘s Ambassador to in Bahrain. Died in 1934. Bahrain (c. Bibi Nuri Jan Agha Muhammad Rahim Lived in Bushehr.1857–72). Hudaydah. Born in Bushehr (1778). Hajji Muhammad Hasan Hajji Muhammad Jafar A merchant in Bombay. Ahmad 1905–1989 Lived in Bahrain. 1900–04. and Bahrain. Dr Jan (Jahan) A consultant psychiatrist in the UK (lives near Manchester).1880–1928 Lived in Bahrain. ‘Abd al-Rasul c. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul A merchant. Served the British Crown Note The family changed its name to al-Safar in the 1960s. Lived in Bushehr (c. ‘Ali Lived in Lived in Iraq. lived in Hillah (1802–9). and Bahrain sometime before 1884.1884–c. Muhammad Saddiq A merchant in Bombay. Bombay. lived in Bushehr (c. Fatimah Lived in Bahrain. Muhammad ‘Ali Lived in Bushehr. Born in Hillah. Dr Nader A GP in Bahrain. Born in Bombay. Lived in Bushehr. Hajji Muhammad ‘Ali Born in Bushehr. 1909–24).1829–42). Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan (c.Table 3. 1884) and Bushehr (c.1805) and traded in Mocha (from 1809 to sometime after 1855). Persia. Born c.1740s in Hillah (Iraq). Moved to Bushehr in 1845. Mocha (1809–29). . Umm al-Khair Lived in Bahrain. Hajji Muhammad Hajji Mirza Ahmad Khan Lived in Mocha and Lived in Mocha (c. Son (name unknown) Na‘imah Muhammad ‘Abd al-Nabi Lived in Iraq. (1872–91).1911).
In 1893. Bahrain and Bombay. was a Persian. lived in Mocha. His descendants still live there. known as barasti huts. merchants. When ‘Abd al-Nabi died in 1884. Bushehr’s economy had begun to decline while that of Manamah was prospering. and spoke Arabic and Farsi. Bayt Safar commanded a prominent position on the waterfront and was reputedly large enough to have accommodated a thousand safety-seekers during the battle of Manamah (1842) in the first Bahraini civil war. with ogival arches. but they have long since lost touch with their cousins in Bushehr.45 This sum was about one-and-a-half times the Resident’s large monthly salary. terraces. and latticed windows’. wrote his letters in Farsi and Arabic. mirza (a Shi‘i title indicating that one is descended from the Prophet through one’s mother). Bushehr and Bombay. was born in Hillah to a Persian mother from Bushehr. Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan Safar (c. Hillah. proprietors. Hudaydah and Bombay. Agha Muhammad Rahim.52 When Muhammad Rahim died in 1900.47 He resided mainly in Bushehr in the 1840s. Hajji Ahmad Khan (son of Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul in Mocha).68 James Onley to India after the British Political Resident in the Gulf (headquartered at Bushehr) had refused to pay any funds out of the Residency treasury. in which dwelt ‘the nobler and wealthier inhabitants. His eldest son. Shiraz. Muscat.54 The Safar family’s great mobility in the nineteenth century had a demonstrable influence on its members. . balconies. John Zaytun.466-13-3) – eight times the Gulf Resident’s monthly salary of Rs 2. porticoes.53 Muhammad Rahim’s nephew ‘Abd al-Rasul bin Ahmad remained in Bahrain. and possibly British Indian subject. and men of government’. onto which opened many slim double doors surmounted by semicircular stained-glass windows.48 and moved into Bayt Safar in Manamah. therefore.1803–84). which he described as ‘elegant and spacious. Bahrain and Bombay. suggesting that his mother or maternal grandmother was Persian.000 (£1. Bushehr. His title. Basrah. which accounted for the majority of dwellings in Manamah until the 1920s. father and grandfather had lived before him.51 They stood in sharp contrast to the ‘mere palm-leaf cottages’. were typically two storeys high. 1850s and 1860s. In Bushehr he was assisted by his son. lived in Hillah.49 As with any building of note in Manamah at the time. Ahmad continued to run things in Bahrain while Muhammad Rahim took over the family business in Bushehr. Mocha. where his cousin. Muhammad Rahim decided to move to Bahrain and make the island the new centre of the family’s business operations in the Gulf. who had moved to the Gulf from Mocha many years before. Ottoman. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar (1778–1845) was born in Bushehr. and in Bahrain he was helped by his nephew. it was most probably constructed in what William Palgrave called ‘the Persian style of architecture’.46 ‘Abd al-Nabi maintained substantial business interests in Bushehr. Bahrain. He left affairs in Bushehr in the hands of his Christian business partner. but in the 1870s and 1880s he also lived in Bahrain for a large part of every year.750 – a vast sum considering the now dilapidated condition of the house. is a common one in Persia. with a large inner courtyard and deep verandas. When Ahmad himself died in 1891. Mocha.50 These buildings. the family returned to Bushehr and later sold Bayt Safar for Rs 22.
lived in Bushehr and Bahrain.3 Hajji Muhammad Jafar Safar. ‘Abd alRasul (c. was born in Mocha to a Persian mother from Bushehr.56 and was most probably a British Indian subject. was a Persian and Ottoman subject. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul (b. lived in Bombay and Bushehr. grew up in Hillah.1880–1928). and used the Persian titles mirza and khan. was born in Bushehr to a Persian mother. gentleman). used the Persian title of khan (esquire. c. wrote his letters in Farsi and Arabic. ‘Abd al-Nabi’s son Agha Muhammad Rahim (c. was born in Bombay to a Persian mother from Shiraz. lived in Bushehr and Bahrain. English and possibly Hindi. Arabic and Hindi – see Figure 3. and spoke Farsi. Bombay. lived in Mocha. wrote in Farsi and Arabic. and spoke Farsi. wrote his letters in Arabic and Farsi.2). spoke Arabic and Farsi. lived in Bahrain. Hajji ‘Abd alRasul’s eldest son.3. Arabic. wrote his letters in Arabic. gentleman). was described by the British as ‘Persian’. and dressed in the style of a Yemeni Figure 3. was born in Iraq to a Persian mother from Bushehr. Bahrain).57 Ahmad’s eldest son. used the Persian title agha (commander.1865 (Bushehri Archive. . Hajji Mirza Ahmad Khan (c. Arabic.1820/30s–91). His brother.55 kept his business records in Farsi. was a British Indian subject. was a Persian and British Indian subject.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 69 was a Persian subject. and most likely spoke Farsi.1805). dressed in the style of an Indian merchant in Bombay. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar’s second eldest son. English and possibly Hindi. dressed in a hybrid Persian–Arab style (see Figure 3. Hajji Muhammad Jafar.1830s–1900) was born in Bushehr to a Persian mother. c.
Figure 3.5 Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif (centre) – the nephew and son-in-law of Agha Muhammad Rahim Saraf – seated with Major Francis Prideaux (Political Agent at Bahrain 1904–9).4 ‘Abd al-Rasul Safar (centre) and his son. Bushehr.1910 (Bushehri Archive. c. .1909 (Bushehri Archive. Bahrain). Ahmad.Figure 3. c. Bahrain). Bahrain.
speak English as a mother tongue.4. The merchants’ access to decision making. most affluent merchants enjoyed some degree of influence with local rulers. Their influence on the policies of the ruler was casual and left no written record. speak Arabic as a mother tongue. The most common kind of informal influence was proximity: the influence of those with everyday access to the ruling family through marriage.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 71 merchant (possibly in the fashion of his father) – see Figure 3.60 Sharif family history explains how the Safars and Sharifs are really branches of the same family. Bahrain. ‘was primarily informal. friendship and court presence. Ahmad’s children were all born in Bahrain to an Iraqi Arab mother from Karbala.’63 The political dynamics of a given issue could see a merchant united with his ruler against other merchants. The most notable connection through marriage was with the Sharif family of Bushehr. although they no longer behave as a single family – see Figure 3. and was a Bahraini citizen – see Figure 3. and have a British–Arab identity. Yemen. Persia. Members of the two families in Bahrain today still regard themselves as distant cousins.59 The Safars intermarried with the Sharifs at least ten times between the 1770s and 1890s. but this was not unusual. India and Britain was their intermarriage with local families. Politically. Beyond this.5. Qatar and Dubai.1. A wealthy merchant’s status ensured him regular. Jill Crystal and Fatma al-Sayegh have studied this sphere of influence in Kuwait. live in Britain. All this gave the wealthiest merchants considerable political influence with the rulers. was educated in Bombay.61 The Safars’ relations with the rulers of Bahrain and Kuwait The Safars exercised considerable influence with Shaykh ‘Isa al-Khalifah (ruler of Bahrain 1869–1923) and Shaykh Mubarak al-Sabah (ruler of Kuwait 1896–1915). A substantial portion of the rulers’ revenues came from the merchants through the customs duties and other taxes that flowed from a prosperous entrepôt economy. spoke Farsi as a mother tongue. and are Bahraini citizens. Crystal notes. but the patterns they identify can be seen in other Gulf shaykhdoms as well. or united with other merchants against his ruler. Oman. predictable access to his ruler’s majlis (court) and gave him input into decision making. dressed in a Persian style in his youth. ‘Abd al-Rasul’s son Ahmad (1905–89) was born in Bahrain to a Persian mother from Behbahan in south-western Persia. pearl merchants also had economic control over large portions of the local population through employment and indebtedness. Gulf rulers also depended upon occasional loans from the wealthiest merchants. the power relationship between the rulers and the merchants . creating a close bond between the two families – see Table 3. Before oil.4. Jan ( Jahan). Jan’s four children were born to British mothers. now lives near Manchester. Ahmad’s eldest son.62 Crystal argues that merchant influence stemmed from the Gulf rulers’ economic dependence on the merchants.58 One of the natural results of the Safars’ close connections with Iraq. lived in Iran and Bahrain. The rulers could not afford to ignore the opinions of powerful merchants within their shaykhdoms.
68 Relations between Shaykh ‘Isa and the Safars were very close for the next 25 years.70 Muhammad Rahim Safar also enjoyed a close friendship with Shaykh Mubarak of Kuwait.65 The Safars’ close relations with the al-Khalifah date from 1869. was a political structure consisting of ‘a ruling Shaikh. whose pre-eminence was secure. in the 1880s the Shaykh presented him with a horse and two date plantations south-west of Manamah. took advantage of this by asking Muhammad Rahim to assist him in the negotiation of the Anglo-Kuwaiti Exclusive Agreement of 1899.1.72 The Exclusive Agreement. therefore. Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Meade (1897–1900). handed over the use of Bayt Safar in Manamah and presented the Shaykh ‘with a gift of about 100. when Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar and his son Agha Muhammad Rahim helped Shaykh ‘Isa assume the rulership of Bahrain in the wake of the shaykhdom’s second civil war. Shaykh ‘Isa was especially good friends with Hajji Ahmad Khan Safar (c.69 When Shaykh ‘Isa’s son Shaykh Hamad visited the British Resident in Bushehr in November 1897.64 The result. it was one of interdependence. brought Kuwait into the British fold by placing the shaykhdom’s foreign relations under British control – at least in theory. says Crystal.000] for the purpose of providing the preliminary requirements of the Emirate’. Britain’s Gulf Resident.66 One account states that when Shaykh ‘Isa returned to Bahrain in early December 1869. but constrained by the merchant élite. though kept secret at the time. he stayed at Bayt Safar. members of merchant families such as the Safars frequently allied . The Agreement was the shaykhdom’s first step in its transformation into a British-protected state like the coastal shaykhdoms of the lower Gulf. Shaykh ‘Isa granted the Safars a concession on customs duty in perpetuity and gave them some control over the island’s pearling fleet. One of the plantations remains in the Safar family to this day. economically.71 During the winter of 1898–9.000 Muhammed Shahi Riels [Rs 40. he found his late father’s house in Muharraq in ruins and the government treasury empty.74 The Safars’ collaboration with the British Protection was one of the greatest concerns of Gulf merchants before the twentieth century. acting on his father’s orders. next to the British Residency – see Figure 3. To gain protection for themselves. their property might be confiscated by members of the local ruling family. Muhammad Rahim. The Resident reported to India that Muhammad Rahim had been ‘of considerable assistance’ to him during these negotiations.72 James Onley was one of counterbalance.67 In appreciation for this support.1820/30s–91). tied to the economy of pearling and trade’.73 Muhammad Rahim was even made a signatory to the Agreement. If they fell out of favour with the local ruler. his name appearing just below Shaykh Mubarak’s. their businesses and their families. Transnational merchants trading in the Gulf had to be constantly on guard against pirates and bedouin raiders. although the al-Khalifah never intermarried with them – possibly for political reasons (to limit the Safars’ influence with the ruling family) and possibly for religious reasons (because the Safars were not Sunni).
they were also entitled by treaty to receive ‘the treatment and consideration of the subjects and dependants of the most favoured people’. (the Gulf Agent of the British India Steam Navigation Company) from the 1920s to the 1950s. while an eighth member of the family. including the right to pay no more than 5 per cent ad valorem on imported goods. Five of the Agents were themselves the sons of British Agents – a reflection of the practice by some Gulf families of closely associating themselves with a particular European government or company. the closely related Sharif family tended to stay out of the political limelight. In Bahrain. British. their fortunes had declined significantly.3.76 As shown in Table 3. Even Agha Muhammad Khalil.75 Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar once explained how his family ‘originally took up the work to get British protection’. however. As Table 3. They had a right to the Resident’s good offices if their goods were seized and were entitled to the protection of the Indian Navy and Royal Navy in times of trouble. were known as ‘British-protected persons’ and were entitled to the protection and ‘good offices’ (diplomatic representation and mediation) of British civil and military officers around the world. Mackenzie & Co. Membership on the staff of an American. the Gulf Resident was obligated to intervene on his behalf. A fifth member of the family. families and staff were all protected. served as a munshi at the Gulf Residency headquarters in Bushehr in the 1900s. Sharif family history tells how they were Grade I or II merchants in the nineteenth century. they ran the British Agency as a family business for 34 years between 1834 and 1900. This echoes the tradition of family service with the East India Company and British Government of India found in many British families. Five of the men had held the posts of Political Assistant (munshi).77 By the twentieth century. Muhammad Safar (the grandson of Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan). goods. Confidential News Agent or Deputy Agent prior to their appointment as Political Agent. served as a translator with the Royal Navy’s Gulf Squadron in the 1930s. who inherited half of Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar’s fortune in 1900 – including Bayt Safar in Manamah and the two Safar family estates near Basrah – lost everything by the . Unlike the Safars. French. but none ever held the post of Political Agent. in effect. Ahmad Safar (the grandson of Hajji Mirza Ahmad Khan). A seventh member of the family.4 shows. four members of the family worked for the British Government of India as munshis and one served as Deputy Agent. however. This practice discouraged harassment of British employees and protected their private businesses as well. Belgian. generation after generation. German or Russian consulate or company in the Gulf usually carried with it the much-sought-after status of ‘protected person’. Their ships.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 73 themselves with European governments or companies. giving them the same advantages British merchants enjoyed in the Gulf. for example. Four members of the family served as British Agents in Bahrain. served as the Shipping Agent for Gray. If an injustice occurred against a British-protected person or his family in the Gulf. Two patterns emerge from this list. All non-Britons in the employ of the British government or British companies. six members of the Safar family served the British Government of India as Political Agents between 1829 and 1900. Agha Muhammad Tahir al-Sharif.
Table 3. Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar munshi (Political Assistant) Political Agent Broker/Political Agent Deputy Political Agent Political Agent Deputy Political Agent munshi and Confidential News Agent Political Agent munshi? munshi Deputy Political Agent Political Agent munshi and Confidential News Agent Political Agent Note The family changed its name to al-Safar in the 1960s.1860s–1893 1893–1900 6.1829–? c.1829–1834 1834–1842 c.1875 c. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar 2.1829–? c. Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan Safar Bahrain Bahrain Mocha Mocha Hudaydah Bahrain c. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul Safar 3.1829–1856 1857–1872 1872–1884 1884–1891 c.1834–1842 5. Hajji Mirza Ahmad Khan Safar Bushehr Bahrain Mocha Bushehr Bahrain Bahrain Bushehr Bahrain c. Hajji Muhammad Safar 4. .3 Britain’s agents in Arabia and Persia from the Safar family Post Location Period Name 1.1842–1871 1872–1884 c.
forbade her children to marry into the Sharif family.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 75 Table 3. zealous and ever willing to carry out any work entrusted to him to the best of his ability. I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Agha Mahomed Rahim ibn Hajee Abdun Nabee [Safar]. correct information can always be obtained through him. expressing my sense of esteem and sincere regard for him. they were no longer the sort of extremely affluent and influential men the British were looking to recruit as agents. with pleasure bear this testimony to his worth. transnational connections and political influence . Agha Muhammad al-Sharif munshi Note The family changed its name to al-Sharif in the early twentieth century.1890s 1893–1900 1900–1904 1904–1909 1909–1924 1893–1896 1896–1924 c. It would also explain why Safar–Sharif intermarriage did not continue past the 1890s. as indicated by this letter of commendation from a British political officer in Bushehr: As I am shortly proceeding to India.1920s–1940 munshi Deputy Political Agent Dragoman (chief munshi) munshi/Deputy Political Agent Dragoman 3. sincere. Agha Muhammad Muhsin Sharif munshi munshi 4.79 The Safar and Sharif family manuscripts in the Bushehri Archive in Bahrain include many statements and letters of this nature from British political officers attesting to the high social status. Safar family history records how Zainab Behbahani. I have found him trustworthy. who has repeatedly proved of great use in obtaining correct information. and personal influence. having a large circle of friends at Bushire. despite the fact that the two families were related. delicacy of management. & I feel quite certain that as a Confidential Agent his services are indispensable to the Bushire Residency. Busreh.4 Britain’s munshis in Arabia and Persia from the Sharif family Name 1. The influence which he has acquired locally makes him a very useful person in certain negotiations of delicate nature. networks of merchant houses and extensive social contacts throughout the region were of tremendous value to the British. By the time they entered Crown service in the 1890s. I do. Agha Muhammad Karim Sharif 2. Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif Post Location Bushehr Bahrain Bushehr Kuwait Bushehr Bahrain Bushehr Bahrain Period c. therefore. This might explain in part why the British never appointed the Sharifs as Political Agents. the status-conscious daughter-in-law of Hajji Ahmad Safar (Agent 1884 –91).78 The Safars’ and Sharifs’ local knowledge. & other ports in [the] Persian Gulf. 1930s. the securing of which required much tact. He is well informed about local matters and.
and had regular. Most had relatives. They knew the region better than the British. Aden. which flew outside his house to proclaim that he was the local representative of the British Government of India. If Britain’s Resident in Bushehr was ‘the Uncrowned King of the Persian Gulf ’. Lingah. It was only by tapping into the transnational mercantile networks of the Gulf that successive Gulf Residents were able to maintain political contacts. The Union Jack stood for imperial power. for example. with whom they were in regular touch.80 then his locally recruited agents were the Gulf ’s uncrowned princes. They generally had extensive social and business contacts throughout the Gulf and beyond. Transnational merchants such as the Safars were highly effective as British agents in the Gulf. While the Safars already enjoyed status.82 Merchants such as the Safars were well placed to be the eyes and ears of the Gulf Resident. and had better local and regional intelligence networks. Britain’s Resident in Bushehr was responsible for maintaining contact with the dozens of rulers. they were also well suited to help the Gulf Resident with these duties. and its presence would have reinforced the impression that the British Agent was the most influential man in a ruler’s domain outside the ruler’s family. association with the dominant power in the region offered prospects for further improvement. He represented the dominant power in the region. handling the family business in many of the region’s ports and market towns: Baghdad. totally incommensurate with the value of their services.1. They also enjoyed a high status within Gulf society and a resulting influence with the Gulf rulers that was independent of their association with the British Government of India. A Safar’s privileged status was symbolized by the Union Jack. Muhammarah. were over four-and-a-half times what he received from the British Government of India. Muscat. Bushehr. Britain.76 James Onley of many members of the two families. stay informed and protect British interests as well as they did in the nineteenth . and protecting British interests.81 But this loss was a small price to pay for the protection and enhanced status. The Agency-related expenses of Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan Safar (Bahrain Agent 1872–84). The top transnational merchant families in the Gulf still operate in this way. Basrah. spoke the languages of the Gulf better. The Safar family had members in eight of these towns in the nineteenth century. Just as the Safar family’s affluence was evident from the size of Bayt Safar in Bushehr. Hudaydah and Bombay. Isfahan. the local rulers and shaykhs. staying informed about events throughout the region. This would explain why the Safars were willing to run the British agencies at what at first appears to be a financial loss to themselves. Manamah. These benefits profited his business. Bandar ‘Abbas. Transnational merchants were not only willing to work for small salaries. direct access to the most powerful men in Arabia. Shiraz. chiefs and governors in Arabia and Persia. Mocha. as Lord Curzon dubbed him. influence and contacts he enjoyed as a British agent. enforcing Britain’s treaties with the local rulers. influence and wealth. their close connection with Britain and the Gulf Residency was symbolized by the house’s location beside the Residency headquarters – see Figure 3. enabling him to recoup the Agency operating expenses as part of his larger business profits.
83 There were a number of disadvantages to employing merchants as agents instead of British political officers. Gulf Residents were also able to take advantage of the political relationship between the merchants and the rulers. such as those in Figure 3. Kashmiri shawls adorned the heads of the ruling families of Bahrain. Gulf Arab merchants such as the Safars resided in Persian and Indian ports. Arabian dhows were built with wood imported from India. Whatever conflicts of interest there were in mixing trade with politics. Persian. Residents could not afford to pay these merchants the same salaries as British officers. then and now Nineteenth-century eastern Arabia was closely linked to Persia and India through trade. for the most part. Mohamed Rahim and his predecessors no doubt have only held it because it gave them prestige and assisted them in their private commercial undertakings. Transnational connections in the Gulf.85 Because the Gulf Residency was always run on a tight budget. Rs 100 per mensem.84 One Resident. northern Emiratis. and colourful Indian-style turbans were favoured by Omanis. to non-political duties. were worn by Shi‘i Arab elites such as the Safars throughout the Gulf region. explained how He has the reputation of being a well-to-do merchant.and Indian-style buildings. and Persian and Indian merchants resided in Arabian ports. dominated eastern Arabian ports. most of the Residents and their superiors in India seem to have considered this a price that had to be paid for the services of such well-connected and influential men as the Safars. The British admitted that the salaries they paid these merchants did not reflect the true value of their services. But there would have been little incentive for the merchants to continue working for the Resident if their association with the British Government of India did not benefit their business interests. Abu Dhabi and Dubai. if he were not allowed to trade. Qataris and Bahrainis – especially the hawalah . The most obvious was the possibility of a conflict of interest between their official duties and their private business pursuits.2. Today. be difficult to get a man of his position to carry on the duties he performs on the pay of the post. By employing wealthy transnational merchants such as the Safars as political agents.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 77 century. and it would. often built by Persians and Indians. the Resident compensated them for their inadequate salaries. writing about Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (Bahrain Agent 1893–1900). By both permitting them to engage in trade and allowing their businesses to benefit from their association with the Residency. white Persian-style turbans. I may say at once. but their role is now confined. This commercial connection naturally resulted in a strong Persian and Indian cultural influence on eastern Arabia’s ports and people – clearly evident in the styles of architecture. such locally recruited agents are known as honorary consuls. clothing and cuisine.
in the creation of national museums celebrating the heritage of Sunni Gulf Arabs (Ibadi Arabs in Oman). the rulers granted the vast majority of government positions to members of their own families or to other Sunni Arabs (and Ibadi Arabs in Oman) of similar Najdi descent and tribal affiliation – often from elite merchant families. Persian.78 James Onley (see the man standing in Figure 3. During this time most Gulf Arab elites abandoned Western attire and adopted Gulf Arab national dress in an assertion of regional Arab identity. from the work of Indian Ocean historians such as K. To consolidate their new power base. Most Gulf Arab elites have strong ties with Britain or America.and Indian-style headdress was replaced with a purely Arabian headdress: the Najdi ‘agal (head rope). They also promoted a Gulf Arab national identity as a necessary prerequisite for participation in government and a desirable identity for all citizens. The results of this can be seen everywhere: in the wearing of ‘traditional’ Arabian bedouin clothing for all but the most junior members of government.87 Twenty-first-century eastern Arabia remains a transnational space. Iranians and Indians still live in Gulf Arab ports. Chaudhuri. the Gulf Arab states underwent a further cultural reorientation. The oil wealth of the 1950s and 1960s (and.86 Many in the Gulf Arab elites had Persian or Indian wives. Buildings constructed during this time were often designed by Western architects and built along Western lines. 1960s or 1970s – speaking English. N. This process of Westernization was reinforced by the presence of large Western expatriate communities in the Gulf. In the 1970s and 1980s.88 Another reason was the growing need to distinguish between themselves and the ever-expanding number of expatriates in the Gulf. in addition to Arabic. in the construction of vast Sunni . The predominant foreign influence is now British and American. Gulf Arabs ate their lamb and fish with curry and rice from India. 1950s. worn with either the Nadji shimagh (the red-and-white chequered headscarf of central Arabia) or the white ghutrah indigenous to eastern Arabia. One of the reasons for this was the perception that Westernization had begun to threaten their cultural identity. Gulf historians have much to learn. the ruling families have strongly emphasized the importance of Gulf Arab culture. Urdu. or both: they spend their summers there and have degrees from British and American universities. In these and countless other ways. therefore. whose children spoke Farsi. especially the Arab expatriates. Many in the small Gulf states became Westernized in the 1940s. eastern Arabia’s ports and people were as much a part of the Indian Ocean world as they were a part of the Arab world. as was Ahmad Safar (1905–89).2). tribal lineage and Sunni Islam (Ibadi Islam in Oman). but the nature of that transnationalism has changed. With the sole exception of Oman. but few Gulf Arabs have connections with Iran or India today. of the 1930s and 1940s) had released the ruling families from their dependence on the merchants and enabled them to build a modern state infrastructure. in the case of Bahrain.90 Since the 1980s. especially the elites. adopting some Western ways and wearing Western attire (from the popular blazer-and-thob combination to the full suit and tie). Baluchi or Hindi.89 National dress became the hallmark of citizenship in the Gulf. Many were graduates of Bombay schools.
91 The case of the Safar family thus offers us a rare glimpse into nineteenthcentury Gulf society. Urdu or Farsi at home. who constituted the vast majority of British agents in the nineteenth-century Gulf. the British were able to operate within the indigenous political systems and intelligence networks of the Gulf. Family members did not merely reside in the ports of Arabia. At the Portuguese fort in Bahrain. have begun to downplay their non-Arab heritage. EIC FCO For. This explains why Gulf Arabs with historical transnational connections. but Arab.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 79 mosques (Ibadi mosques in Oman) and in the Arabesque design of new buildings. some Gulf citizens of Indian and Sunni Persian descent have begun to Arabize – speaking Arabic. The result was a blending of cultures into a complex transnational family identity. revealing a far more transnational elite culture than that now promoted in the Gulf Arab states. and why. Persian. Govt HMG Assistant East India Company Foreign and Commonwealth Office Foreign Governor Government Her/His Majesty’s Government . in an ironic reversal of the transnationalism of the past. The case of the Safar family also illustrates the ways in which transnational merchant families operated in the Gulf before oil. In contrast to Gulf merchant families today. the British empire. Hindi. but their architecture is now described as ‘Arabian’. Persia and India. Gujarati. Abbreviations Asst. One now rarely sees the Arab–Persian or Arab–Indian hybridity and blending of cultures that once characterized transnational Arab merchant families in the Gulf. Many had considerable influence with local rulers.and Indian-style buildings continue to dominate the historical districts of the port cities. Men like the Safars. a nineteenth-century transnational family did not have to Arabize to gain acceptance and become influential. Because they could provide both intelligence and influence. language. By employing the Safars and others like them as representatives. These families had an intimate knowledge of local languages and politics. long before the politicization of Gulf Arab identity. Iraq. senior members of these families made the best possible intermediaries between foreign powers and local rulers. connected the region to that most transnational entity of all. such as Easa Saleh al-Gurg whose story began this chapter. one finds a large sign greeting visitors to ‘Bahrain Fort’ with an explanation of how the fort is not Portuguese. as well as extensive social and business contacts. marriage and birth. throughout the Gulf and beyond. Multiculturalism among Gulf citizens is everywhere downplayed and intermarriage between Gulf Arabs and non-Arabs is discouraged. they were connected to these places through culture. adopting Arab ways and wearing Gulf Arab national dress – although still speaking Baluchi. Gov.
in L. Rs Sec. Jan al-Safar. Wills. ‘Kuwait before Oil: The Dynamics of Morphology of an Arab Port City’. Arabia and the Gulf. and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean. D. 1500–1800 (Delhi: Oxford University Press. ‘Port Cities as Nodal Points of Change: The Indian Ocean. Hadhrami Traders. N. Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1995). SNOPG Notes 1 This chapter could not have been written without the invaluable assistance of ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. Newsletter of the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) 3 ( July 1999): 12. pp. 1900–90’. See Das Gupta’s collected essays 1960–92 in Merchants of Maritime India. 1994). G. 1865). Nelida Fuccaro. Broeze (ed. Persia and the Persian Question (London: Longmans. 2 vols. N. Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 35/2 (2001): 175–87. G. Mandana Limbert and Gabriele vom Bruck for their helpful comments on this chapter. 1997). 2000). Lombard and J. Merchants and Faith: Muslim Commerce and Culture in the Indian Ocean (Boulder: Westview. T. N. Curzon. Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea (Delhi: Oxford University Press. and C. Scholars. 1984). 1890s–1920s’. Brill. pp. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. 1745–1900 (Albany: State University of New York Press. 2000). 1997). 1750–1947: Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1892). ‘Islam and Urban Space: Ma’tams in Bahrain before Oil’. McPherson. Calvin Allen and Philip Curtin. Fuccaro. J. 4 P. Risso. Markovits. OIOC PRPG reg. ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. Fuccaro. and partially funded by the Society for Arabian Studies. 1997). ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society: The Case of Dubai. ‘Visions of the City: Urban Studies on the Gulf ’. and K. Critique: Journal of Critical Studies of the Middle East 17/2 (2000): 49–81. Aubin (eds). Allen’s muchquoted article ‘The Indian Merchant Community of Masqat’. 1750s–1960s (Leiden: E. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’. British Library. James Piscatori. F. E.80 James Onley Her/His Majesty’s Ship Krans (principal unit of currency of Persia) footnote Oriental and India Office Collections. which covered some of the expenses of a year of archival work at the British Library in London. 77–83. The Global World of Indian Merchants. ‘Maritime Asia 1500–1800: The Interactive Emergence of European Domination’. 2 W. 467–8. 6 F. American Historical Review 98/1 (February 1993): 83–105. Gateways of Asia: Port Cities of Asia in the 13th–20th Centuries (London: Kegan Paul. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 44/1 (1981): 39–53. which paid for a year of fieldwork in Bahrain. II. Fuccaro. 211–12. 3 G. Broeze. Middle Eastern Studies 34/1 (1998): 87–102. U. Fawaz and . Green & Co. caretaker of the Safar family manuscript collection and Bahrain’s foremost historian of its national history. These authors are building on the pioneering works of Ashin Das Gupta. vol. Also see J. al-Sayegh. in F. pp.). 5 H. Clarence-Smith (eds). 149–90. N. and Curtin’s famous book. pp. (London: Macmillan. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–63). Research for this chapter and several other works was generously funded by the Bahrain–British Foundation. Fattah. I would also like to thank Gloria Onley.. London Political Resident in the Persian Gulf register Rupees Secretary Senior Naval Officer in the Persian Gulf HMS Ks n. Palgrave. Freitag and W.
L. and G. Francke. correspondence. 1996. Interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. Interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. Naulleau. For more about the Bakhtiyari. pp. Bahrain). The Merchants: The Big Business Families of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States (Woodstock. For more details. Muhammad Rahim Safar to Meade (PRPG). Mammon. Mahdavi. Provisional Basic Statute of Rule of the State of Qatar. Modernity and Culture from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean (New York: Columbia University Press. note by Muhammad Khalil Sharif. and Country: A Nineteenth-Century Persian Merchant. 1918. 23 July 1999. 1892. 1999. 1962. 2002). Article 1. 185–6. Oct. For an explanation of how general merchants in the Gulf operate. 1992. Also written as ‘aqa’. Asian Merchants and Businessmen. pp. Interview with Khalid Kanoo. Mar. 167. The Arab Shi‘a: The Forgotten Muslims (New York: Palgrave. G. al-Gurg. 297–309. pp. 26 Dec.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 81 C. K. the King of Bahrain appointed three Persian Bahrainis to senior positions in government. The House of Kanoo: A Century of Arabian Family Business (London: London Centre for Arab Studies. Khans and Shahs. M. 2002). followed by another three Persian Bahrainis in 2002. Article 1. Iqtidari (Tehran: Behnshire. Carter. see Field. L.. Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain. 1983). Fuller and R. E. 1886. 1999.–Aug. 1999. Constitution of the UAE. Kanoo. Sadid al-Saltanah (Kababi). This inclusion of non-Arabs in government has a recent constitutional basis: ‘There shall be no discrimination among them [the citizens of Bahrain] on the basis of sex. Carter. June–Aug. in Lombard and Aubin (eds). In 2000. D. language. S. NY: Overlook Press. Mar. Bahrain. ‘Islam and Trade: The Case of Some Merchant Families from the Gulf ’. Bahrain. to Muhammad Khalil Sharif. R. Bayly (eds). Article 1(a). 2002. 1997). 136. Dr Muhammad ‘Abdul Ghafar. Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin al-Zarb (Boulder: Westview.–Aug. Basrah. Article 1. pp. Bahrain. religion. appendix c. Mar. 3 Aug. origin. 1998. Interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. A Grade I merchant was an international wholesale trader who maintained a large fleet of cargo ships. The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants. 1898. see G. 3–4. Basic Law of Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 1983). 1979). M. The Merchants. 12 Apr. Cox. voucher by Muhammad Rahim Safar to N. Mar. Khans and Shahs: A Documentary Analysis of the Bakhtiyari in Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2003. Ibid. J. R. the Prime Minister of Bahrain appointed three Persian Bahrainis and one Indian Bahraini to the country’s majlis al-shurah (Consultative Council).–Aug. Garthwaite. 1998). 39 and interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. 13 Oct. Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain. pp. Ibid. Bahrain. and the British in the Nineteenth Century Gulf (Oxford: Oxford University Press. The Wells of Memory: An Autobiography (London: John Murray. 1999 and ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. Article 6. 1972. 1984). 1999). including the Minister for Foreign Affairs. London. Merchant Families of Kuwait (London: Scorpion. 54. Onley. R. employed an international network of commercial agents and had a minimum annual income of Ks500. In 2001–3. Rulers. forthcoming 2004). 1999. p. 2–3. 1972. Article 1. R.–Nov. 1934 (all documents in the Bushehri Archive. Bahrain. Interviews with Nader al-Safar. A. Bahrain. 10 Sept.000. See Garthwaite. pp. For God. Leading Merchant Families of Saudi Arabia (London: Scorpion. A. S. Constitution of the State of Kuwait. or creed’ (Article 18. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 . Safar Namah-i Sadid al-Saltanah [Sadid al-Saltanah’s Book of Travels]. see J. J. 75–95. 1999). and Sir P. E. Declaration by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (will of ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar). 20 Apr. M. ed. 292–310. Field. 1984). Fracis. Basic Law of the Sultanate of Oman. A.–Aug.
28 Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, Altrincham, Cheshire. 29 Statement by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar, 11 Nov. 1898, reg. no. 364/1899, L/P&S/7/112 (OIOC), p. 21. 30 Safar family tree by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar, ibid., and Safar family tree by Ahmad Safar ( Jan al-Safar collection, Altrincham, Cheshire). 31 For details, see B. Ingham, ‘Men’s Dress in the Arabian Peninsula: Historical and Present Perspectives’, in N. Lindisfarne-Tapper and B. Ingham (eds), Languages of Dress in the Middle East (London: Curzon, 1997), pp. 47–8 and p. 6 (Figure 3.1). 32 The hawalah (sg. holi ) are Sunni Arabs from southern Persia who link themselves genealogically to one of the tribes of Arabia. Many could be described as ‘Persianized Arabs’ in the nineteenth century. See J. G. Lorimer, Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman, and Central Arabia, vol. II: Geographical and Statistical (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1908), pp. 754–5; F. I. Khuri, Tribe and State in Bahrain: The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 2, 4. 33 For the complexities of the term ‘Persian’, see M. Vaziri, Iran as Imagined Nation: The Construction of National Identity (New York: Paragon House, 1993), pp. 67–70. 34 Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; ‘Adel al-Safar, 23 July 1999, Bahrain; and Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, 20 July 2000, 26 Aug. 2000, 14 Apr. 2001, 18 Apr. 2001, 9 Apr. 2003, 16 Apr. 2003, Altrincham, Cheshire. 35 Interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Mar.–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. 36 Gabriele vom Bruck has made the same observation of big Sunni merchant families in Yemen. See ‘Kinship and the Embodiment of History’, History and Anthropology 10/4 (1998): 263, 287–8. 37 Safar family tree by Ahmad Safar ( Jan al-Safar collection, Altrincham, Cheshire). 38 Voucher by Muhammad Rahim Safar to N. D. Fracis, 3 Aug. 1892; Muhammad Rahim Safar to Meade (PRPG), 13 Oct. 1898; power of attorney by Louisa Fracis (widow of N. D. Fracis) to Percy James Fracis, 14 Oct. 1909; note by Muhammad Khalil Sharif, 26 Dec. 1918; and Sir P. Cox, London, to Muhammad Khalil Sharif, Basrah, 10 Sept. 1934 (all documents in the Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999 and ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Mar.–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. 39 Telephone interview with Jan al-Safar, 26 Aug. 2000. 40 EIC bill of exchange for Rs 7,000 in favour of Hajji Muhammad ‘Ali Safar for 30 days at 1.5 per cent interest, 15 Oct. 1839 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 41 J. A. Saldanha, Précis of the Affairs of the Persian Coast and Islands, 1854–1905 (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1906), p. 69. The Resident’s monthly salary in the 1830s was Rs 2,400. 42 Declaration by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (will of ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar), 20 Apr. 1886 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 43 Family tree by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar, 11 Nov. 1898, reg. no. 364/1899, L/P&S/7/112 (OIOC). 44 Statement by Jones (PRPG), 15 Nov. 1856 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 45 Statement by Comdr. J. Sedley (SNOPG), 4 Apr. 1863 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). The exchange rate at the time was roughly 1 kran 0.4 rupee (26 pice), 1 rupee 2.5 krans. L. Pelly, Report on a Journey to Riyadh in Central Arabia (1865), repr. edn., Cambridge: Oleander Press, n.d., appendix 8: ‘Riyadh Currency’, p. 84. 46 Saldanha, Précis, p. 69. The Resident’s monthly salary in the 1860s was Rs 2,400. 47 Way (Asst. PRPG) to Pelly (PRPG), 23 Sept. 1869, L/P&S/9/15 (OIOC), p. 547. 48 Business agreement between C. J. Zaytun and Muhammad Rahim Safar, 26 Dec. 1887 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 49 Lt. A. B. Kemball, ‘Historical Sketch of the Uttoobee Tribe of Arabs (Bahrein) from the Year 1832 to 1844’, 1844, in R. Hughes Thomas (ed.), Selections from the Records of the
Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 83
Bombay Government, NS, 24 (Bombay: Bombay Education Society Press, 1856; repr. Cambridge: Oleander Press, 1985), p. 393 and map of Manamah enclosed in Zwemer to Cobb, 28 Nov. 1899, Arabian Mission MSS, Reformed Church of America Archive, New Brunswick, NJ, USA (copy in the Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey, vol. II, p. 209. Ibid. For examples, see A. Wheatcroft, Bahrain in Original Photographs, 1880–1961 (London: Kegan Paul, 1988), pp. 20, 28, 42, 47, 65, 67–8, 76, 81, 93, 130 and A. M. al-Khan, Bahrain Old Houses (Manamah: Falcon Cinefoto, 1987), pp. 38, 43–4, 48–53, 56–7, 77. Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey, vol. II, p. 209. For examples, see Wheatcroft, Bahrain in Original Photographs, 1880–1961, pp. 63, 83–4. Gray, Paul & Co. to Muhammad Khalil Sharif (nephew and son-in-law of Muhammad Rahim Safar), 17 May 1904; agreement by Gray, Paul & Co. and Muhammad Khalil Sharif, 22 Jan. 1908; Muhammad Khalil Sharif to Gray, Paul & Co., 18 Feb. 1909 (all documents in the Bushehri Archive, Bahrain); and ‘Tubular Proposition Statement’ by Gulf Resident, 24 Sept. 1899, R/15/1/330 (OIOC), p. 39. Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Mar.–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; and Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, 20 July 2000, 26 Aug. 2000, 14 Apr. 2001, 18 Apr. 2001, 9 Apr. 2003, 16 Apr. 2003, Altrincham, Cheshire. ‘Khan’ originally meant shaykh or prince and came from the Turkoman and Mongol nomads. H. Yule and A. Burnell, Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymology, Historical, Geographical and Discursive, 2nd edn. (London: John Murray, 1903), p. 479. R. J. Gavin, Aden under British Rule, 1839–1967 (London: C. Hurst & Co., 1975), p. 45. Ahmad was granted a British Indian passport as a reward for his years of service to the British Crown. See Resolution no. 6220 of the Government of Bombay, 23 Dec. 1871, P/478 (OIOC), p. 863. Interviews with Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, 20 July 2000, 26 Aug. 2000, 14 Apr. 2001, 18 Apr. 2001, 9 Apr. 2003, 16 Apr. 2003, Altrincham, Cheshire. For the politics of intermarriage, see P. Lienhardt, The Shaikhdoms of Eastern Arabia, ed. A. al-Shahi (London: Palgrave, 2001), p. 21. Ibid. and interviews with Mirza Isma‘il al-Sharif, May–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. Interviews with Mirza Isma‘il al-Sharif, May–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, Altrincham, Cheshire; and ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Mar.–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. J. Crystal, ‘Coalitions in Oil Monarchies: Kuwait and Qatar’, Comparative Politics 21/4 ( July 1989): 427–43; J. Crystal, Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait and Qatar, rev. edn. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 4, 9, 13, 21, 26, 56–7; and al-Sayegh, ‘Merchants’ Role’, pp. 90–1. Crystal, Oil and Politics in the Gulf, p. 56. Ibid., p. 57. Ibid., p. 26. See the PRPG’s many dispatches concerning the crisis in Bahrain from Sept. to Dec. 1869, L/P&S/9/15 (OIOC), pp. 473 ff. ‘Bahrain in the Last Two Centuries’ (article translated from an unidentified Iranian newspaper, c.1960s, Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). Riels were the contemporary equivalent to krans. The exchange rate at the time was 1 kran 0.4 rupee (26 pice), 1 rupee 2.5 krans. Ibid. and Meade (PRPG) to Sec., Indian For. Dept., 2 Oct. 1897, reg. no. 711/1898, L/P&S/7/104 (OIOC). Interview with Nader al-Safar (great-grandson of Hajji Ahmad), 11 June 1999, Bahrain. Prideaux (Asst. PRPG) to Meade (PRPG), 10 Nov. 1897 and memorandum by Gaskin (Extra Asst. PRPG), 2 Dec. 1897, R/15/1/315 (OIOC).
56 57 58 59 60 61 62
63 64 65 66 67
68 69 70
71 S. Alghanim, The Reign of Mubarak Al-Sabah, Shaikh of Kuwait 1896–1915 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1998), p. 37. 72 Exclusive Agreement of 23 Jan. 1899, in C. U. Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Engagements and Sanads Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries, vol. XI: The Treaties, &c., Relating to Aden and the South Western Coast of Arabia, the Arab Principalities in the Persian Gulf, Muscat (Oman), Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province (Delhi: Manager of Publications, 1933), p. 262. For an account of Muhammad Rahim’s role in the negotiation of the Agreement, see Alghanim, The Reign of Mubarak Al-Sabah, pp. 37, 73–6. 73 Meade (PRPG) to Sec., Indian For. Dept., 5 June 1899, R/15/1/330 (OIOC), pp. 4a–6b. For an account of Meade’s negotiations with Shaykh Mubarak, see F. Anscombe, The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), pp. 110–12. 74 Exclusive Agreement of 1899, in Aitchison, Treaties, vol. XI: Persian Gulf, p. 262. 75 Article 4, Convention of 1861, ibid., pp. 235–6. 76 Statement by Muhammad Rahim to Meade (PRPG), 11 Nov. 1898, reg. no. 364/1899, L/P&S/7/112 (OIOC). 77 Interviews with Mirza Isma‘il al-Sharif, May–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. A Grade II merchant was a regional wholesale trader who maintained a small fleet of cargo ships, employed a regional network of commercial agents and had an annual income of Ks300,000–500,000. For more details, see Onley, The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj, appendix c. 78 Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain, and Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, Altrincham, Cheshire. 79 Statement by R. Halier (Uncovenanted Asst. Resident), 2 Mar. 1889 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 80 Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, p. 451. 81 Between June 1872 and June 1875, ‘Abd al-Nabi received Rs 1,039-0-2 (Ks 2,597.6) in salary – Rs 346-5-2 p.a. – yet his Agency-related expenses were Rs 4,772-3-1 (Ks 11,930.5) – an average of Rs 1,590-11-2 p.a. ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar, ‘Account of Personal Expenses, 1872–75’ (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). The amounts are recorded in krans. The exchange rate at the time was roughly 1 kran 0.4 rupee (26 pice), 1 rupee 2.5 krans. Pelly, Report on a Journey to Riyadh, appendix 8: ‘Riyadh Currency’, p. 84. 82 Field, The Merchants, pp. 16–18, 126, 162, 218, 248, 280; Crystal, Oil and Politics in the Gulf, p. 38. 83 FCO, HMG, Consular Work Annual Review, 2001 (London: FCO, 2001), p. 13. 84 See, for example, Pelly to Bombay Govt., 28 Jan. 1871, P/759 (OIOC), p. 290. 85 ‘Report on the arms trade at Bahrein’ by Meade (PRPG), 18 Nov. 1898, reg. no. 364/1899, L/P&S/7/112 (OIOC). 86 Ingham, ‘Men’s Dress in the Arabian Peninsula’, pp. 45–7; telephone interview with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, 15 Apr. 2003. Also see the numerous books of historical photographs of eastern Arabia. 87 K. N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985); K. N. Chaudhuri, Asia before Europe: Economy and Civilization of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). 88 For a discussion of this point, see S. Khalaf, ‘Globalization and Heritage Revival in the Gulf: An Anthropological Look at Dubai Heritage Village’, Journal of Social Affairs 19/75 (Fall 2002): 13–42. 89 For a discussion of the problems surrounding the ever-increasing number of expatriates in the Gulf, see A. Kapiszewski, Nationals and Expatriates: Population and Labour Dilemmas of the Gulf Cooperation Council States (Reading: Ithaca Press, 2001). 90 Ingham, ‘Men’s Dress in the Arabian Peninsula’, pp. 45–7. 91 Telephone interview with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, 15 Apr. 2003.
Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 85
Bushehri Archive, Bahrain
Hajji Muhammad ‘Ali Safar MSS ( fl. 1778–1845). Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar MSS ( fl. c.1803–84). Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar MSS ( fl. c.1830s–1900). Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif MSS ( fl. c.1870–1940).
Jan Safar private collection, Altrincham (near Manchester)
Safar family tree.
Oriental and India Office Collections (OIOC), British Library, London
L/P&S/7/104 Political and Secret Department correspondence with India, 1898 (India Office, London). L/P&S/7/112 Political and Secret Department correspondence with India, 1899 (India Office, London). L/P&S/9/15 Secret letters from Persian Gulf, 1869 (India Office, London). P/478 Political Department proceedings, 1871 (Government of Bombay). P/759 Indian Foreign Department proceedings, 1875 (Government of India, Calcutta). R/15/1/315 Recognition of Shaykh Hamad as successor to Shaykh ‘Isa in Bahrain, 1897–1901 (Gulf Residency, Bushehr). R/15/1/330 British representation at Bahrain; appointment of a Political Agent to Bahrain, 1898–1908 (Gulf Residency, Bushehr).
Bushehri, ‘Ali Akbar (Bahraini historian, genealogist, owner of the Bushehri Archive and custodian of the Safar and Sharif MSS collections), fifty interviews: September 1998–August 1999, Bahrain; twenty e-mails: October 1999–April 2001 and 4–11 April 2003; and seven telephone interviews: 31 March–15 April 2003. Kanoo, Khalid, two interviews: 23–4 July 1999, Bahrain; and correspondence, 12 April 2003. Khalfan, Khalifah (son-in-law of Ahmad Safar, 1905–89), interview: 24 June 1999, Bahrain. al-Safar, ‘Adel, interview: 23 July 1999, Bahrain. al-Safar, Jan, six interviews: 7–10 April 2000, Altrincham, Cheshire; and six telephone interviews: 20 July 2000, 26 August 2000, 14 April 2001, 18 April 2001, 9 April 2003 and 16 April 2003. al-Safar, Nader, twelve interviews: June–August 1999, Bahrain. al-Sharif, Mirza Isma‘il (second cousin of Agha Muhammad Khalil al-Sharif, c.1870–1940), five interviews: May–August 1999, Bahrain.
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edn. A. G. A. Comparative Politics 21/4 ( July 1989): 427–43. Facey. J. A. Old Oman. London: Scorpion. 149–90. edn. 1984. The Reign of Mubarak Al-Sabah. and Grant. Shaikh of Kuwait 1896–1915. Manamah: Falcon Cinefoto. 1988. Birks.. R. N. L. M.). Government of Bahrain. al-Muraikhi. in R. R. J. W. K. 1999. Chaudhuri. Crystal. Abu Dhabi: An Arabian Album. Anscombe.. The Emirates by the First Photographers. Bruck. ‘The Indian Merchant Community of Masqat’. edn. Allen. Crystal. History and Anthropology 10/4 (1998): 263–98. and Grant.). London: Kegan Paul. M. Directorate of Museums. G.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 87 Codrai. 1997. Crystal. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. 1999. Merchant Families of Kuwait. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1991. ‘Coalitions in Oil Monarchies: Kuwait and Qatar’. Al-Bahrain: Hazarat wa Tarikh [Bahrain: Culture and History]. London: I. 1880–1950. 1993. B. Facey. Codrai. Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Leading Merchant Families of Saudi Arabia. London: Stacey International. Broeze (ed. pp. K. Published secondary sources Abu-Lughod. London: I. pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. B. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 44/1 (1981): 39–53.). A. 1985. 1997. 1987. pp. Broeze. J. 1992.p. Bahrain: Government Press. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 1998. . 1982. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. F. W. Boulder: Westview. 1997. repr. R. London: Kegan Paul. in F. Pridham (ed. 1991. K. rev. 1996. 1995. M. London: Kegan Paul International. al-Muraikhi. Kuwait: The Transformation of an Oil State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. 119–210. Dubai: Motivate Publishing. 1880–1961. G. al-Khan. Tauris. Tauris. 1997. Glimpses of Bahrain from its Past. Peyton. Fox (ed. Wheatcroft. 1983. W. 1988. The Arab Gulf and the Arab World. Appaduri. London: Croom Helm. 1998. R. Dubai: Motivate Publishing. Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait and Qatar. ‘Kuwait before Oil: The Dynamics of Morphology of an Arab Port City’. B.. ‘The Demographic Challenge in the Arab Gulf ’. Bahrain in Original Photographs. Kuwait by the First Photographers. D. New York: Columbia University Press. 1992. Gateways of Asia: Port Cities of Asia in the 13th–20th Centuries. J. Dubai: Motivate Publishing. 1979. vom ‘Kinship and the Embodiment of History’. L. 1990. F. J. Carter. S. Chaudhuri. Codrai. Carter. R. Bahrain Old Houses. Events Enfolded in Time: A Journey into Bahrain’s Past. Asia before Europe: Economy and Civilization of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750. L. S. Wheatcroft. in B. C. rev. London: Scorpion. R. Berkeley: University of California Press. A. Bahrain in Original Photographs. Dubai: An Arabian Album. Ministry of Information. 1992. N. Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750. London: I. J. Alghanim. The North-East Shaikhdoms: An Arabian Album. Appaduri. The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait. 1995. ‘Global Ethnospaces: Notes and Queries for a Transnational Anthropology’. Bahrain: n. 131–52. K. Bahrain: Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information. Tauris. Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present.
and Clarence-Smith. Disorientations: A Society in Flux: Kuwait in the 1950s. Leiden: E. London: George Allen & Unwin. N. E. Freitag. M. P. ‘Globalization and Heritage Revival in the Gulf: An Anthropological Look at Dubai Heritage Village’. ed. G. Brill. Gavin. 2000. Albany: State University of New York Press. J. pp. Khuri. W.). Languages of Dress in the Middle East. and Francke. 2001. Ingham (eds). 1972. M. Fuller. 1984. Woodstock. Ingham. al-Shahi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Shaikhdoms of Eastern Arabia. The Arab Shi‘a: The Forgotten Muslims. C. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. G. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. London: FCO. S. 2002. Merchants of Maritime India. Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 35/2 (2001): 175–87. Khans and Shahs: A Documentary Analysis of the Bakhtiyari in Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tribe and State in Bahrain: The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State. Lombard. Lienhardt. ‘Men’s Dress in the Arabian Peninsula: Historical and Present Perspectives’. Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1980. 40–54. ed. 1967. 1951. A. ‘Islam and Urban Space: Ma’tams in Bahrain before Oil’. (eds) Hadhrami Traders. (eds) Modernity and Culture from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Reading: Ithaca Press. Kapiszewski. 2001. in D. London: C. and Bayly. Hopwood (ed. ‘Some Aspects of the Trucial States’. Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark. 1997. and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean. Investigations in a Shi‘a Village in Bahrain. 1993. 1997. H. New York: Palgrave. Newsletter of the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) 3 ( July 1999): 12. Das Gupta. G. 1983. A. London: London Centre for Arab Studies. 219–30. Cross-Cultural Trade in World History. (eds) Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea. N. P. N. J. Hansen. U. 1997. H. Fattah. . 1994. Journal of Social Affairs 19/75 (Fall 2002): 13–42. 1745–1900. Aden under British Rule. 2001. Arab Seafaring in the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Medieval Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Garthwaite. The House of Kanoo: A Century of Arabian Family Business. A. H. A. R. Critique: Journal of Critical Studies of the Middle East 17/2 (2000): 49–81. London: Palgrave. Kanoo. L. Nationals and Expatriates: Population and Labour Dilemmas of the Gulf Cooperation Council States. 1997. Consular Work Annual Review. K. Field. B. Hourani. P. ‘Visions of the City: Urban Studies on the Gulf ’. Fuccaro. F. The Arabian Peninsula: Society and Politics. 1975. and Aubin. 1839–1967. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’. Hurst & Co. 2001. R. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Fuccaro. P. J. Arabia and the Gulf. R. 1999.. pp. New York: Columbia University Press. 1500–1800. T. G. The Merchants: The Big Business Families of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.88 James Onley Curtin. P. ‘The Authority of Shaykhs in the Gulf: An Essay in Nineteenth Century History’. Lienhardt. Her Majesty’s Government. D. A. Lindisfarne-Tapper and B. 1750s–1960s. F. Reading: Ithaca. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Lienhardt. Arabian Studies 2 (1975): 61–75. R. Lienhardt. 1984. Scholars. NY: Overlook Press. Fuccaro. Khalaf. London: Curzon. al-Shahi. Fawaz. in N. I.
Wills. 1900–90’. Vaziri. ‘Maritime Asia. al-Naqeeb. ‘Muslim Identity in Maritime Trade: General Observations and Some Evidence from the Eighteenth-Century Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean Region’. ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society: The Case of Dubai. 2000. in Fawaz and Bayly (eds). C. London: HMSO. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs. Risso. 297–309. F. Rulers. Mahdavi. Changed Identities: The Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia. Asian Merchants and Businessmen. 1890s–1920s’. . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. G. E. trans L. London: Routledge. 1993. Boulder: Westview. pp. 1500–1800: The Interactive Emergence of European Domination’. Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin al-Zarb. Yamani. H. Onley. The Evolving Culture of Kuwait. ‘Port Cities as Nodal Points of Change: The Indian Ocean. For God. Oxford: Oxford University Press. al-Sayegh. Markovits. 2000. K. American Historical Review 98/1 (February 1993): 83–105. pp. S. New York: Paragon House. ‘Islam and Trade: The Case of Some Merchant Families from the Gulf ’. Society and State in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula: A Different Perspective.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 89 McPherson. 1750–1947: Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama. K. P. Scarce. M. The Global World of Indian Merchants. and the British in the Nineteenth Century Gulf. and Country: A Nineteenth-Century Persian Merchant. in Lombard and Aubin (eds). Naulleau. 1999. The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants. Middle Eastern Studies 34/1 (1998): 87–102. Modernity and Culture. Kenny. J. J. Iran as Imagined Nation: The Construction of National Identity. M. Risso. 1985. 1990. 75–95. Merchants and Faith: Muslim Commerce and Culture in the Indian Ocean. 1995. J. forthcoming. M. Boulder: Westview. M. Mammon. P. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 21 (1989): 381–92.
Part II Global and local networks .
a Persian Gulf Cup came into being. Since the mid-1990s. weddings. of the nationhood of the UAE and of a privileged affinity with other Gulf societies. . the building of modern nationhood and of global cultural processes. camel races were held in small local communities on festive social occasions such as religious holidays. it has become a metaphor for the nation’s rush towards greater modernization. It is. An explanation of this phenomenon goes beyond the revival of cultural heritage in Dubai or the UAE. the situation changed radically as camel racing became a way of reasserting bedouin culture against global values and praising the leadership of the United Arab Emirates. rather. Moreover. Along the same line of thought.000 camels have been taking part in the finals of the camel-racing season at Nid al-Shiba track in Dubai and in al-Wathbah outside the city of Abu Dhabi. more than 4. involving workers from Pakistan.4 Dubai: global city and transnational hub Roland Marchal In the pre-oil days. From the mid-1980s. Coast Cup was therefore organized. however. or the visit of a prominent shaykh. migrant communities are also part of this narrative since teams from their home countries visit the UAE. Some of the racing camels are selected for transportation to other Gulf countries to participate in more races. players or coaches from their homelands are recruited and deserve special mention in their media. As Khalaf explains in his seminal analysis. These informal events were characterized by a relaxed set of rules. Racing itself is not simply an expression of bedouin culture (supposedly shared by all of Dubai’s natives). It did not reflect their interests or the way they wanted to construct their identity. circumcisions. As soon as an Arabic Gulf Cup was established. Coastal populations and rulers were uneasy with this semantic confrontation. an ‘invented’ tradition2 that has undergone a dramatic process of rationalization. but as a way to recapture differences3 that are more than a reiteration of the past. generating a flow of money for funding and for rewards. India and Oman. Sudan.1 this process is not simply the duplication of a once-weekend tradition. Iran. It must be contextualized within the broader processes of the oil economy. sport is a fruitful. Somalia. way to assess the way globalization is taking place: not as a unifying process as is so often claimed by economists. and performances varied according to the locality. it is interesting to consider the way football competition took shape in the Gulf. Indeed. if incomplete.
In conclusion. it provides some food for thought on the way that Africa has become a new frontier for the development of Dubai. Dubai as a world city The notion of ‘world city’ refers to at least two schools of thought. an educated guess is that about 80 per cent of the goods were re-exported. beyond the traditional (often colonial) linkages that exist with some countries such as Egypt and Sudan. refers to the scholarly description of the world economy between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries by the French historian Fernand Braudel. Oman. For instance. globalization started long before the early 1980s. which allow visiting traders easier access to the market and the opportunity to enlarge commercial contacts well beyond the region (in 1999. free zones that attract international firms which are reluctant to invest under the sponsorship regulations enforced in most of the Gulf countries. we can use other ways to assess the process of globalization and transnationalization which has been taking place in Dubai for the last two decades. re-exports from Dubai reached 120 countries over all continents). Indian).94 Roland Marchal Instead of using those cultural practices. Although this description is fairly accurate. ease in obtaining visas. India.5 Next. airports. In his view. imports reached 65 billion dirhams and re-exports were officially valued at 15 billion dirhams. First. accessibility to trade in all kinds of items in significant quantities. In this sense. contrary to the assumption of many scholars of international relations. it highlights a few parameters that explain the growth of Dubai as a global city. which is too rarely taken into account by academics: the role Dubai plays with regard to Africa. especially when Iran. This gap between official and non-official figures is actually a good indicator of Dubai’s success: exporting is basically free and informal trade is a major dimension of this activity. world cities basically are the sites where world economies interconnect. as well as special attributes. Arab. These include excellent infrastructure (ports.4 This chapter limits itself to describing only some aspects of this current trend and addresses one specific example. Iran. Kuwait and other countries beyond the region. Iraq. Central Asian and African countries are considered. but refer back to earlier periods. the lowest taxation on imports in comparison to other countries in the region. Saudi Arabia. telecommunications) managed by a skilled administration. and the diverse nationalities of the business community (Iranian. one could argue on the basis of reasonable evidence that such processes are not rooted in the current modern or postmodern era. focusing more on external than on internal factors. which has been consistently used by some authors. questions will be asked about the ability of Dubai to continue playing such a role beyond its immediate region. The first. roads. Dubai’s success is attributed to a host of factors. quality of services. Although globalization essentially means . mostly towards the other emirates of the UAE. In 1999. Dubai’s fame as a commercial centre has increased tremendously over the last decade. However. Dubai could be one case that corroborates the view that.
The figures provided above are only part of a massive set of evidence of the role Dubai plays for the Gulf as well as the Indian subcontinent and other parts of the Arab and African world. African and Western economies.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 95 the unification of economic systems and flows at the global level. It is therefore worth bringing into the discussion some elements of comparison using this framework. . This attempt has generated a great amount of academic discussion and criticism. Since this is only a short chapter. after a first attempt by Hall6 in 1966. It is worth trying to compare this dynamic with that of other city-states in order to emphasize the conditions that enabled the emergence of Dubai as a global city. socio-geographers and economists. the role of the state.10 Without going further into this conceptual debate. which was developed mostly from the 1980s. such an approach still appears meaningful in the case of Dubai since it puts an emphasis on the mercantilist dimension of its economic development and world function: a significant node in the global trade network (exemplified by the container-ship or airline routes and re-export figures as well as the growing ability to deliver market services beyond its neighbourhood). A Braudelian approach Many analyses rightly emphasize the internal dimensions of Dubai’s development as the main elements for its success. played a major role in refining the notion into the concept of ‘global city’ nowadays used by urban theorists. and the aggregation of business classes from different backgrounds. It is important to reiterate here the four dimensions that allow reflection on the constitution of such entities. The key meaning is that the spatially dispersed global economy requires locally based and integrated organization.9 Parameters used for these measurements have been criticized as over-Westernized (major companies were mostly US and Canadian) and as reproducing an ideological difference between Western cities (urban theory) and third-world cities (urban development). descriptions and justifications will be brief. Friedmann and Sassen. which raises very challenging questions about the current emergence of the ‘global city-region’. it is possible to note some characteristics underlined by this approach in the case of Dubai. but the author believes that they could provoke reflection in terms of historical economic sociology. according to this definition.8 First. the long duration of citésentrepôts (‘warehouse cities’) linking Asian. There is another concept of the world city. one has only to measure the attributes of global cities while ignoring the critical importance of understanding the mutual relationships between individual members of this system of cities. Although many transnational companies no longer keep their headquarters in central areas of these major cities. and this takes place in global cities. the specialized firms which they rely on to produce the capabilities and innovations necessary for command and control of their global operations have remained or chosen to establish themselves there.7 among others. The four points are: the relatively weak political status of Dubai.
000 (half being in Dubai). One may provide two justifications for this view. one might be tempted to view this weakness as more of an asset than a liability. This lack of prominence allows a form of strategic opportunism by which politics and economics could be handled with a loose consistency and without too much interference. both before and after 11 September. again. Venice was a strategic economic player though it did not have any major industries or a vibrant banking and financial sector (the latter was limited to its close vicinity). including the USA and France. Despite the ongoing conflicting territorial claims over some islands by Tehran and Dubai. Genoa was a leading banking hub but could not be considered a prominent trading centre. Antwerp was one of the main trading centres in northern Europe despite not even owning its own ships (which were considered to be a strategic asset at that time). while neither Antwerp nor Genoa had any political influence at all. Along with most of the Gulf and the Arab world. Only Amsterdam and London achieved economic power. Only London had all the instruments of political and economic power. One should also remember that 70. and this provided protection. Figures from 2002 indicated . Despite huge spending on military hardware. Iranian migrants in the UAE number about 100. Should this apparent lack of political aura be seen as a weakness? The answer appears to be ‘no’. differences are very meaningful: Venice was a strong city-state. to quote Fariba Adelkhah. there is no doubt that. The apparent weakness of Dubai in backing up its sovereignty claims over a territory therefore has advantages that a politically powerful Dubai would lack.000 Emiratis are of Iranian background. Two very typical examples are the relationships Dubai has developed over the last two decades with Iran and Iraq. four times the amount of 1999.14 This figure does not take into account the informal trade in smuggling goods into Iraq in contravention of UN regulations. its security has depended mostly on defence agreements with Western powers.000 and Iranian companies there 3. Nonetheless. if any.96 Roland Marchal The status of power Dubai can hardly be seen as a major player in regional or international politics. is shaped under the tutelage of Abu Dhabi. from the control of trade routes to the expansion of commercial and industrial capacities. The historian Fernand Braudel11 noted that many city-states that have played a comparably significant role in history actually lacked the instruments of power. At a strictly political level. including all varieties of credit facilities and banking. the truth is that they may actually reach over 50 per cent.13 Most analysts are keen to point out that although official re-exports from Dubai to Iran represent around 20 per cent of total reexports. Amsterdam was part of the United Provinces.12 At the end of the fifteenth century. there was very little sympathy in Dubai for the Ba‘ath regime in Baghdad. the latter should be considered ‘the economic capital of Iran’. Under present-day conditions. exports and re-exports from Dubai to Iraq reached US$176 million. Its foreign policy. in 2000. Today.
The role of the state Dubai’s state plays a great role in the economy. As in Singapore. In Singapore. Dubai’s strategy is not as close to Hong Kong’s as is often thought. The state in Hong Kong has been much less interventionist and the industrial fabric is quite different from that of Dubai: rather than international firms. whose subsistence will be strategically linked to the success of new industrial and commercial activities. highly interventionist. the key economic actors have been small and medium enterprises which settled there after the Communists took over (mostly from Shanghai). The rate of exports over re-exports reaches 30 per cent in Singapore while it is only about 10 per cent in Dubai (even taking into account . although most analysts are inclined to believe that it is slightly better than in other Gulf states. the state nationalized the port in 1905 and regulates the job market. In this sense. which can be difficult to answer because transparency is not a major feature of Dubai’s economic management. Singapore is an industrial outlet in a major sense while Dubai is not. the state in Dubai is. as the two share a colonial history and the presence of a large British community in the administration as well as in the main trading houses. Although its expansion suffered after the Communists came to power in Beijing. In the 1920s. This is justified by the claim that the building of trade and service infrastructure should be achieved before oil revenues decline significantly by the 2010s. First. Dubai actually shares more similarities with Singapore than with Hong Kong. This command economy is attempting to build the cornerstones of a post-rentier Dubai. Hong Kong’s port was more important than that of London or New York. This situation raises a number of questions. and this has boosted their commercial growth. Dubai benefits fundamentally from foreign direct investment (FDI – in Jebel Ali and other free zones) and the involvement of international corporations. this comparison with Singapore cannot be taken too far.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 97 that the value of exports and re-exports reached a peak of more than US$550 million.17 In both cases. There are major differences that may play quite a significant role over the years. This should not be surprising. Two of these differences are of note. 21 per cent of China’s imports and 37 per cent of its exports went via the British colony. As in Singapore. until 2002 in March16 (this is also the period of nowruz.15 Many initiatives taken over the last decades by Dubai’s rulers have in fact been copied from Singapore – for example. the port’s economy has been a crucial factor for economic expansion: both Dubai and Singapore are hubs for global container transport. by definition. Nevertheless. from the very beginning. which attracts many Iranian tourists to the small emirate). the interface between the continental Chinese market and the outside world. the famous Dubai Shopping Festival. though at a much lower level. its importance was re-evaluated after the Korean War and subsequent events in continental China. By 1880. Hong Kong was.
while Dubai. despite the embargo) through formal and informal networks passing through the Iranian free zone of Kish or through other ways. and also the Hadhrami and Omani (whose communities still exist in Singapore and Indonesia). This permanence also highlights the role of certain trading communities which have been crucial in the development of international trade networks over the centuries and are still significant in the economic setting of contemporary Dubai. Asian and Arab economies. It is also worth mentioning that the decline of Surat is not strictly linked to internal events. It is certain that geo-politics. Singapore has a vibrant banking and financial sector. As mentioned in the previous section. business people of Iranian origin constitute a significant share of the business community at all levels and are key actors in various ways in connecting Iran with the world (including the USA. Those international trade networks were not ethnically homogeneous: far from it. one should emphasize the permanence in the greater region of trading hubs connecting Western. Jeddah and Asia. the Arab countries and East Africa. took over the networks with the support of European governments. A permanent hub linking world economies Although this could hardly be considered a reason for Dubai’s success. despite the presence of many banks. The aggregation of business classes from different backgrounds As mentioned earlier. Surat was then a major interface between Asian economies from southern China and Malacca up to the Gulf. up to the first decades of the eighteenth century. . the successes of the trade hubs were not linked to the homogeneity of their business classes.98 Roland Marchal the industrial output from Sharjah’s quite significant industrial sector). Dutch. and in any case is far below that of Singapore. Indian Banians. Surat connected Mocha. In 2000. The most significant was certainly Surat. British and Arab merchants were involved in them. though more goods were coming from its hinterland (Ahmadabad) than Asian supply markets. who had played a subaltern role in those trade networks for decades as pirates or traders. Later on. more than economics.18 a Gujarati port which gained prominence from the time that the Mughal dynasty took over India in 1573. despite the relative prominence of some groups compared to others. played a major role in its recession. Westerners. when the Dutch took over the Indonesian archipelago. is still far behind. Second. Dubai fits very much into this group of city-states. It must be seen in the future whether the free zone of Jebel Ali will be able to change this situation dramatically. It is not surprising to see elements of those groups economically active in East Africa. This historical occurrence emphasizes another pattern worth considering. stock exchanges were set up both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi but the success is not yet as great as had been expected. They include the descendants of some Gujarati groups such as the Bohra and the Khojah.19 and still represent a significant share of local business community. Throughout the eighteenth century.
room was also given to Indian merchants over the last few decades. raises two questions. Dubai’s rulers have been eager to attract segments of the foreign business community. Later. The Islamic Revolution in Iran and its subsequent war with Iraq pushed many wealthy Iranians either to migrate to the emirate or to use it for business purposes (such as trading with the USA despite an official embargo which was less than enthusiastically endorsed by US firms). The recognition that trading networks are a strategic asset cannot be dismissed. which disrupted traditional commercial routes and created a window of opportunity for Dubai. The Afghan Taliban were disliked by the international community even before 11 September. either Lebanese or Palestinian. the place where major cultural trends were evolving was Florence: its dialect became prominent in Italian . and Afghanistan was ranked tenth in re-exports from Dubai in 2000. While Genoa and Venice were key economic centres. On the contrary. but their regime was recognized by the UAE. Iran had to cope with the consequences of the Islamic Revolution and. The civil war in Lebanon brought a significant community of skilled workers and entrepreneurs. concerns the issue of cultural expression. whose representatives had already travelled to Central Asia to assess markets and find counterparts. The first question is: to what extent is there a single business class in Dubai? The way the society seems to function at the grassroots level indicates that it is organized as an archipelago of communities whose contacts and interactions are clearly limited to the market and the mosque. an outsider has difficulty in envisioning the constitution of a common culture shared by everybody.20 With hindsight. and never equal to that of the autochthonous business community. Does this correspond to a fair description of the relationships among the business community? A second question. along with the livelihood of most of the population. India has been involved for years in an attempt to liberalize its economy. This sketchy description. Another contributing factor was the war in Chechnya. Moreover. Dubai did its best to benefit from the troubles in the region. and Dubai still has more to offer than many states in the greater region. as far as it is correct. A partial answer – more an element for discussion – is provided by Fernand Braudel. in line with the first. business people and companies that had settled in Kuwait moved to Dubai and stayed there in the aftermath of the 1990–1 Gulf War. as business opportunities were growing.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 99 At different times. the decision to welcome Iranian traders at the beginning of the last century may appear to have been the most successful strategy. though the status of those business people is often different. in other states. Nevertheless. what is relevant is comparative advantage. Last but not least. political or economic predicaments never constituted an incentive to stay home or to return. who underlines the fact that cultural and economic dynamics have been quite separate in the rise of the city-states in Europe during the classic period. the answers to which elude the author. the feeling is that cultural expressions are very stratified. Because of the huge heterogeneity of the people living in Dubai. in addition to the Hadhrami and other Arab business people.
increasingly. but can be detrimental to social justice. America. settled groups of a similar nature. But these are only examples of the ‘dark side’ of this heterogeneity and should not be seen as especially surprising. in which poor migrants get rich overnight. Being such an obvious melting pot. In more theoretical terms.21 Drug trafficking is a problem that is more openly addressed by officials and local newspapers. though no expert wants to go public with figures (for reasons of political correctness). Yemen) or from the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent (including Kerala. except when incidents occur in a public place. A global city approach In order to avoid overlapping arguments. Nepal and. This is associated with both explosive dangers and creative new opportunities for social mobility. Dubai more than anywhere else in the UAE is illustrative of this heterogeneity. the way it shapes its activities against the prevailing clichés and so on. More interesting and challenging are the discourses of the migrants coping with a state which provides them with a better living than they could expect at home but still far from the cosy livelihood of a welfare state. by the state since 11 September. linked to cultural and demographic heterogeneity. while Amsterdam was economically triumphant. Egypt. the global city approach allows emphasis on at least three aspects.100 Roland Marchal literature. Heterogeneity Global cities experience considerable cultural and demographic heterogeneity as a result of large-scale migration. the trend to constitute a region. though sometimes reluctantly. Indian and Russian mafias try to develop their activities in competition with older. concerns are often raised off the record. . Chinese people of various origins). the cultural centre was Rome. this section will be shorter. Lebanon. with more than 90 per cent of the workforce made up of migrants from the West (Britain. one may have to consider the many different ways a foreign community is organized. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) and Asian countries (Indonesia. One should also mention the social division of labour that loosely delineates each community within a range of specific activities and sectors. In the sixteenth century. Malaysia. South Africa (whites) and other European countries) and Arab countries (Sudan. Dubai could be easily used for money laundering and. Central Asian. One example of the many potential studies is that of the ‘urban legends’ of Dubai. and the Renaissance started there. If globalization is a meaningful phenomenon. Local media tend not to report such events. and economic polarization. Dubai has generated a number of security concerns that have been taken more seriously. then crime and trafficking should also be affected by it. Taking into account what has been said previously. as happened recently.
Dubai: global city and transnational hub 101 Polycentrism There is a pronounced change in the spatial morphology of the global city towards what might better be called the global-city region. related to what economists call ‘industrial districts’. At the beginning of 2003. In order to challenge the supremacy of the Bahrain Monetary Agency. Although in competition. But one should look beyond that and take regionalization more seriously. both emirates have complementarities in the industrial sector. as a look at travel statistics clearly demonstrates. While in the past most metropolitan regions were focused mainly on one clearly defined centre. with the current project to develop a residential area near the Jebel Ali free zone. at least as a trend. Bahrain and Dubai are squaring up for a conquest to decide which of the two states is the region’s international banking centre. Without putting much emphasis on the institutional dimension. The achievements of the Gulf Cooperation Council also offer some food for thought since it is moving slowly towards better regional economic integration. . Informal trade networks boosted by access to easy and cheap travel and cargo services (either with old Russian aeroplanes or dhows) have for a long time created dense interconnections between regional sites. where Sharjah had pre-eminence during the colonial period. Moreover. where Sharjah provides hospitality to most visitors from the former USSR. the fledgling Dubai International Financial Centre has recruited a ‘dream team’ (from the UK and Hong Kong) to attract international operators. the new city regions of today are becoming increasingly polycentric and multi-clustered agglomerations. this goes with competition rather than pure consensual planning. one should note that some industrial dynamics.23 Of course. Sharjah. Dubai and its neighbour. as well as in the commercial realm. In the case of Dubai. To a large extent. including their favourite commodities. can be increasingly seen as a conurbation in which dwellings are mostly continuous from one city centre to the other.24 Social and economic polarization A key effect of globalization and economic restructuring on the social geography is even more challenging in its direct political and policy implementation. a common taxation system was set up and should develop further. But it would be premature to build on these first achievements. this dimension points to different phenomena. It is becoming apparent that globalization and its associated forms of economic change tend to widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor in economic.22 are also taking root among various countries of the region and Dubai. The best examples are Sharjah and the current regionalization of the gas sector in the area. social and spatial terms. key issues will be the regulatory framework and the final agreement with a reluctant UAE Central Bank. Of course. this is more than a move from a home in Sharjah to the more expensive office environment of Dubai.
which is basically supported by foreign companies. whose headquarters were in Dubai. and substantial political reforms do not yet seem on the agenda. does not fill the gap between the wealthy natives and the others. who have always lived in such a world. On the other hand. or in specified ones. Dubai’s rulers are under increasing pressure to accommodate foreign investors and. is actually trying to develop policies to tackle various challenges. including the changing international challenges to which the Gulf region has to respond. it allows us to define some of the greatest challenges this emirate will have to face in coping with globalization. when the assets of a Somali money-transfer company. Dubai’s rulers seem to adopt a less proactive set of behaviours. as mentioned in the introduction to this volume. For the older generations. This double approach of looking at Dubai as a global or world city has not considered other important indicators. The nationalization of the workforce is therefore a very complex issue which raises questions about the way the end of the oil rent will be managed. along with other Gulf states. How will the meritocracy. as is the case today? What will be done in response to the need to provide a future for a growing section of the native youth? While Bahrain. The first occurred on 7 November. as the youth. for instance. For decades. regular cabinet reshuffles and wider distribution of wealth. for instance. This company. which was built through oil revenues and the rigid distinction between autochthonous and foreign communities. Pakistan and Africa. be enforced? Will it be in all sectors. the question of poverty was mostly seen as relevant to the migrant workers. the major one . The second section deals with this latter dimension. have opened up the possibility of foreigners buying land or houses in the small emirate. Nevertheless. were frozen by the UAE authorities in response to a request made by the USA and endorsed by the United Nations. cannot find employment and face a rather gloomy future compared to the previous generation. the situation is radically changed. or the education policy will be framed. improvements in daily life were such that no grievances resulting from the economic polarization were raised. India. has embarked on major political and economic changes.25 One can therefore imagine how wealthy foreigners bringing a cosmopolitan culture could sooner or later be made into scapegoats by deprived sections of the native population.102 Roland Marchal Dubai. Subaltern globalization:27 Africa as a new frontier for Dubai? Two events that were in the headlines in the last two years could highlight the new importance of Dubai for African economies and people. income and racial conditions. al-Barakat (not to be confused with the Saudi-owned Islamic Bank). including the establishment of a parliament with real powers. The welfare state. Dubai therefore offers the view of a highly segmented population in terms of social class. Dubai’s rulers26 have been keen to define the role of their country not only as a node in the global trade network but also as a key place in the greater region encompassing the Gulf. Today.
was also operating in many Western states and in the Arab world. this informal economy represents more than 30 per cent of the GDP. Without going into details (which are. The second event was the allegation that one of the bloodiest armed movements in Africa. or grey. Although rooted in history. the Sierra Leone-based Revolutionary United Front. The apparent vacuum was filled by the ‘second’ or informal economy and the emergence of new economic operators who. or second. or even decades. Customers were of many nationalities and included Somalia UN agencies. eastern and southern Africa. In a country such as Senegal. these events attest to a phenomenon that can be seen by anyone walking into the markets in Dubai. the British colonial authorities moved staff from one colony to another and this also allowed networks to be rebuilt. Formal economies in most African states either collapsed or weakened dramatically. Although marginal at the beginning of the 1990s and mostly confined to people from the Horn and East Africa (mostly Kenya and Tanzania).29 In this section. even though their commercial dimension was not always prominent for years. One of these factors concerns the internal changes that reshaped the economic profile of Dubai. challenged state regulations and opened new trading routes. To some extent.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 103 in the Somali market. international NGOs and the European Commission. and pre-date even the British colonial era. the current situation is heavily influenced by economic and social transformations that have taken place over the last two decades. to a certain extent. very important dimensions of this change). Historically. although these connections were never severed completely. it should be noted that the informal. who were also operating for al-Qaeda. the end of the Cold War and globalization. was financing its activities through the sale of diamonds to less-than-reputable middlemen in Dubai. Globalization in Africa also framed new narratives on wealth accumulation and on distant societies. economy has become. These imaginaires du lointain should be understood as one outcome of the way globalization is perceived by African societies. it reduced relationships with the Indian economy through a reorientation of economic flows towards the European (and British) markets. an attempt is made to explain why and how this dynamic is taking place. The 1980s are usually considered a lost decade for African development. In what journalists call failed states. over the years. a crucial dimension of the economic and social African settings. Moreover.30 The colonial period also had an ambivalent impact. Others include links to the transformation of the African economic setting. where the state is still functioning in a decent manner according to African standards. the African presence in Dubai nowadays is significant. . Trading communities as well as migrant workers settled on the African coast and played a strategic role in developing commercial relations between those regions. It should be noted that contacts between Dubai and parts of Africa are not new. Indian Ocean trade has connected the Arab Peninsula with India.28 Although no hard evidence has yet been provided by the US law-enforcement services to substantiate their cases against al-Barakat. in fact.
Aeroflot and other Eastern European airline companies employed Africans who had acquired expertise which they could use in the new business realm framed by privatization and the deregulation of air transport.32 It would be wrong to assume that those actors were always medium or small scale and were unable to generate significant commercial capital. For instance. What is true is that most of them did not have access to the normal banking system. Those aircraft fly weekly to Eritrea.31 This trend developed further in the 1990s as a result of the structural adjustment policies undertaken by indebted African states that had to endorse IMF policies. This was no longer the case in the late 1980s and 1990s. the dissolution of the Soviet bloc created many new opportunities. at least up to 11 September 2001. and had to deal in cash and function via illegal methods. Moreover. At a quite different level. and had to re-orient their search for markets.104 Roland Marchal it could represent more than 80 per cent. Many participants in the informal economy were unable to get through the tough procedures established in Europe from the early 1980s. First of all. but it is actually an essential feature of this process. Since the communist threat was over. Dubai authorities do provide a transit visa for a maximum of 14 days. aid to African regimes diminished rapidly. as in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ) or Somalia before the civil war. although not so important to Westerners. no questions were raised by customs officers while checking huge amounts of cash – they might only check that the banknotes were not fakes – transported by people in transit. A few are given here. For instance. This relative ease of movement is due to the fact that the trade networks are framed in such a way that some key problems have been taken care of.33 Because of the increasing predicament of their societies and the poverty of their potential customers. This may seem trivial. and this enhanced the development of an informal economy by the collapse or weakening of the formal one. Also notable was the emergence of new entrepreneurs and new traders. Aeroflot split up and many aircraft initially flying to small Central Asian republics could be chartered at very low prices. a political dimension. technology was hardly developed and needs were shared. while Europe has practically closed its doors. visas are applied for through a hotel. Both had mostly agricultural outputs to exchange. Two very different examples illustrate the huge range of implications it had on African countries. It has been eager to capitalize on these transformations and dynamics and to mobilize its comparative advantages. At the economic level. In the 1950s and 1960s Afro-Asianism was a utopian project that had.34 Dubai took on a strategic role as the interface between those countries. long enough to strike a deal and conclude a commercial operation. and are often supported by an . The case of Zaire at the beginning of the 1990s is paradigmatic. at most. The end of the Cold War has also reshaped the situation in many ways. those traders had to look for cheaper products than those available to the traditional European markets. Rwanda and Chad. Globalization of the markets and of the flow of people also became a matter of change. both African and Asian economies were too undeveloped to offer ground for any meaningful cooperation. Moreover. visas are fairly easily accessible to Africans.
increasingly active in Dubai. depending on their destination inside the country. may send their commodities directly to Lagos or Port Harcourt. A great spectrum of goods is immediately available for any traders at interesting prices. their access and the way the merchants were dealing with them. either by ship or by plane. to a neighbouring country where customs officers are known to be flexible. and exports are basically free of any control. gems. The balance seemed to favour Dubai. more than 743. Nigerian traders. but the penalties are such that very few Africans. but many would prefer to use Porto Novo in Benin. quite often. his political patronage network) and the like. Then interest in Dubai grew as some traders compared the two markets. who are settled and conducting business in Dubai would take the risk of allowing their visitors to stay. is not based purely on economics but takes into account transaction costs at different levels of the trade networks. Where the supply of certain products is discontinued in their home countries. Items ordered by people from the DRC may take a number of routes. For instance. ivory and other more dubious items are traded in Dubai. The very low taxation of imports makes the smuggling of most goods irrelevant. The logic. This kind of business is typical of war-torn societies whose economies . since traders may reach Dubai with hundreds of thousands of US dollars. The additional transportation costs are less than what would be paid as duty or bribes if sent directly. As mentioned earlier. Benefits can be high and cover the cost of air transport. The relatively low prices and the ease of trade encourage people to come back. That could explain why gold. A subject of allegations and concern is. The last advantage of Dubai is its status as cité-entrepôt. For instance. of course.37 which basically plays the role of a free port for its hinterland.36 Goods may be sent directly to their destination market or. at the beginning. the political allegiance of the trader (i.500 ‘tourists’ landed at the Sharjah international airport and more than 550. many goods bound for Kenya transit through Somalia where customs are as notional as the state apparatus.e. In 2000. This also encourages repeat business and a growth in customer numbers. Others came into being as a result of the privatization of state monopolies – the airline sector was one in many African countries. Trade networks were therefore partially re-oriented. often accompanied by friends or associates. It is true that some travellers do try to extend their stay illegally. Dubai struggled to cope with the logistics. therefore.000 metric tons of cargo was taken out of the country. Chadian traders35 focused on Jeddah because they had access through hajj and ‘umrah pilgrimages to the well-supplied Jeddah market. A second strategic asset of Dubai is easy access. informal traders can make a profit in buying such goods in quantities that can be sold in a market facing absolute shortage. many freight companies were set up in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. they are provided under the assumption that the informal traders would use the services of this company. A third advantage of Dubai that might be challenged by the post-11 September new security arrangements is the lack of control at the border. under normal circumstances. but Sharjah wanted to play a role.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 105 African national involved in a freight company. money laundering.
Despite the optimism of its rulers and its financial situation. Dubai offers many dimensions of modernity as envisioned by its African visitors. travel to Asia nowadays. What would be the role of Iran and Saudi Arabia in a radically new political setting as envisioned by the current US administration? . and interactions with other communities are far from easy outside the market. This statement needs qualification. Dubai as a global trade hub faces a number of challenges that once operated in its favour. On a short-term basis. he might prefer to diversify the goods he is buying to be able to get them sold as quickly as possible.39 The second one is that those Asian states are not so eager to use intermediaries. and the market opportunities are good there. On the one hand. Moreover. it is very unlikely that growth and development have become strong enough to modify the current trends in Africa. one may underline two potential ‘weaknesses’ that characterize Dubai as a trading centre for Africans. and this trend is likely to be sustained for quite a while. and many informal traders. Nevertheless.106 Roland Marchal function as scarcity economies. A drastic regional reconfiguration following the war against Iraq may have ambivalent effects on the functions Dubai fulfils at present. oil prices will pick up but no one wants to predict the longer-term impact. when they have enough money. though trade with African destinations has increased over the past years. when a trader does not have commercial capital that is significant enough or his potential share of the market is too small. The first one is that Dubai is not that cheap. South Korea and Japan are developing aggressive commercial policies towards Africa and one may believe that some results will come from this. which is linked to different parameters. Does this mean that Dubai has captured or will capture a great share of the African economy? The answer is clearly no. In another case. China. There are already significant African communities in Hong Kong. the success of Dubai is first of all based on the African economic context. where goods are manufactured and available at lower prices. at this stage. Bangkok. and Dubai may benefit from that. Informal economies may flourish for years. to draw definite conclusions as to Dubai’s chances of lasting success. it is not yet clear whether this could be the case again. of course). Malaysia. This contrasts greatly with their situation at home. Despite all international commitments and rhetoric.38 But one should not dismiss other aspects: social labelling of Africans (as opposed to Arabs and Muslims) is not positive. offering above all security and freedom to conduct business without significant interference from the authorities (as long as it is legal. Conclusion It would be presumptuous. Dubai used to benefit from political instability in the region. Jakarta and Bombay. As new tensions arise.
this element cannot be isolated from those already mentioned. 1900–1990’.). However. if rigorously enforced. Dubai will not continue to play such a function without altering its ambition to become an international financial centre. 5 For the internal dimensions of Dubai’s development. Hopkins (ed. ‘Le développement d’un état-cité maritime dans le Golfe: l’exemple de Dubayy’. It is difficult to assess whether the changes in the banking regulations.).Dubai: global city and transnational hub 107 Countries of the region are not indifferent to the success of Dubai. Heard-Bey. ‘Poetics and Politics of the Newly Invented Traditions in the Gulf: Camel Racing in the United Arab Emirates’. Middle Eastern Studies 34/1 (1998): 87–102. Despite a strong increase in international and regional trade. indicating that its relative share of the regional trade has probably declined. Clearly. La Péninsule arabique aujourd’hui. 3 J. pp. Hall. competing with the once dominant Dubai-based business interests. because oil revenues were there to pay for mistakes and overambitious projects. at the internal level.). 2 E. cité globale (Paris: CNRS-Editions. Iran is certainly the best example of this challenge but. G. one should emphasize the growth of Turkey and Syria. vol. ‘Introduction’. There is also a need to develop job opportunities for local people and diminish the role migrant workers play at all levels of the economy. in Paul Bonnefant (ed. 1982). 523–57. Dubai. there are tensions on many key issues such as the widening of participation in the decision-making process (up until now the preserve of wealthy families) to include more plebeian technocrats. 2001). Hobsbawm. Regional integration and the UAE’s adhesion to the WTO may also imply a number of changes. one can refer to F. 2002). Clifford. II (Paris: Editions du CNRS. 1–14. Salalah and Aden might also become significant challengers in the region. 1966). 1997). Whatever diversification Dubai has achieved. will significantly affect this situation. ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society: The Case of Dubai. pp. beyond it. R. Fatima al-Sayegh. 1997). its core GDP assets remain linked to the oil and gas industries. Globalization in World History (London: Random House. 4 A. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge. There have been no major setbacks so far. which may have contrasting impacts on the development strategy of Dubai. MA: Harvard University Press. Increasingly. Hobsbawm and T. Parts of Dubai’s success have been linked to money laundering and loose banking regulations. The World Cities (New York: McGraw-Hill. in E. Ethnology 39/3 (Summer 2000): 243–61. . Dubai has a command economy in which the state is the crucial economic player. The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ranger (eds). Marchal (ed. which have become key economic players in Central Asia. The fact that these revenues should drastically decrease in the next 20 years raises questions about the profitability of many infrastructures and the sustainability of others. 6 P. The post-11 September period has already raised concerns about this state of affairs. Notes 1 Suleyman Khalaf. the amounts of re-exports from Dubai have changed little in comparison.
former Chief Executive of Lloyds and former Managing Partner at Arthur Andersen. to put it in another way. He pledged very tough action’. City-States in the Global Economy (Boulder: Westview. Benko and A. Officially. G. c. 17 According to UNCTAD. 1997). 20 For instance. see A. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26/3 (September 2002): 531–54. ‘Dubaï. and mostly directed to the oil industry where French. S. 15 April 2002).04 per cent in 2000.com/fn. Civilisation matérielle. a distinction currently raised by the new US foreign policy. for the first time. The Cambridge Economic History of India. Dubai recruited City of London star Ian Hay Davison. Dubai Police commander Major General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said the crime was not an ordinary incident but an action of organized gangs. in Marchal (ed. cité globale. Taylor and his colleagues and visit the website www. J.loughborough. 2000). 1991). Hadhrami Traders. capitale économique de l’Iran’. 11 Fernand Braudel. this change was proposed by the local traders who wanted to offer discounts at the same period as the Western markets (globalization of time and consumption!). 1983). économie et capitalisme. British and Japanese companies are key players. Development and Change 17 (1986): 69–84. The Paradox of American Power. ‘Global and World Cities: A View from Off the Map’. US. 16 In 2003. pp. the stock resulting from FDI in the UAE is still fairly limited: only 0. La nouvelle géographie socio-économique (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 9 See the research of P. I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1997). The Global City (Princeton: Princeton University Press. it took place from 15 January to 15 February. Das Gupta. 12 Or. Gulf News. Lui. the difference between soft and hard power. Nye. 23 Especially with Qatar. Dudley. See J. Robinson. ‘Bahrein and Dubai: Competition for Centre Stage’. Theory. 19 U. Lipietz. Les exportations et réexportations de Dubai vers l’Irak en 2000 et 2001.uk/gawc 10 J. 2001). Sassen. XVe –XVIIIe (Paris: Le Livre de Poche. ‘The World City Hypothesis’. Ho and T. This is only one example of a consistent practice of appointing well-known managers to increase the credibility of its economic policy (see www. One may be inclined to believe that it was also influenced by the prospect of a war against Iraq. 1979).). 407–33. Dubai. Das Gupta. W. 1993). Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go it Alone (New York: Oxford University Press. Chiu. http:/www. 2002).1700–1750 (Wiesbaden: F. 18 A. Indian Merchants and the Decline of Surat. Technological progress and a huge demand for energy explain the move made by Dubai in a pioneer project. 15 S. A. 13 Fariba Adelkhah.dree. vol. Friedmann. Policy (Oxford: Oxford University Press. Clarence-Smith. The Banker. La richesse des régions. 1750–1960 (Leiden: E. reported local newspapers. K. ac. Brill.org/emirates (May 2002). to head up the regulatory body of the new Dubai Investment Finance Centre as an attempt to woo the global banking community in the same way that it has brought the big names of the information technology world and media to its new free zones. 21 ‘Dubai businessman Sharad Shetty was shot dead as he entered the India Club in the city last night. Scott. Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean. which owns the world’s third-largest proven gas reserve. Freitag and W. 39–65. 24 N. . 14 DRRE. Steiner.ameinfo. 1 January 2003.108 Roland Marchal 7 J. ‘Indian Merchants and the Indian Ocean’. 22 G. pp. Global City-Regions: Trends. 25 January 2003. C. Sources told the newspapers that the owner of two Dubai hotels had fallen out with the southern Indian mafia. 8 For a recent assessment.
‘Dubaï. T. Paris: Le Livre de Poche. 30 See for instance Bill Freund. 34 J. C. ‘La renaissance afro-asiatique?’. Development and Change 9 (1988): 203–65. and Lipietz. years ago. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 150–2 (1998): 297–329. 1997. Chiu. 38 ‘The Road to Hell is Unpaved’. 31–54. L’Etat entrepôt au Bénin. Le commerce frontalier en Afrique centrale. Sale of Gems from Sierra Leone Rebels Raised Millions Sources Say’. ‘Report Says Africans Harbored Al Qaeda Terror Assets Hidden in Gem-Buying Spree’. see Janet Roitman. 36 Most of this traffic is routed to the ex-Soviet Union. c. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.). Politique africaine 76 (December 1999): 5–94. Entrepreneurs and Parasites: The Struggle for Indigenous Capitalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 39–65. 1996). La nouvelle géographie socio-économique. But costs are lower in Sharjah than in Dubai. 2 November 2001. Bennafla. 31 V. in Marchal (ed. A. A good introduction also is S. 37 K. in Stephanie Neuman (ed. Washington Post. W. Igue and B. La richesse des régions. 2001). cité globale. Braudel. Jamal. 1998). Soule. 29 December 2002. Coussy and J. chap. Farah. Cambridge. 1993. International Relations Theory and the Third World (Basingstoke: Macmillan. General Shaykh Muhammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum. K. J. Bennafla. Politique africaine 76 (December 1999): 5–94. A book is forthcoming in 2004. Lauseig. F. 21 December 2002. Wiesbaden: F. 33 B. 1997. and Lui. Indian Merchants and the Decline of Surat. ‘Subaltern Realism: When International Relations Theory Meets the Third World’. Paris: Karthala. Coussy. 29 Data and examples are available in Marchal (ed. and Lauseig. ‘La renaissance afro-asiatique?’.). 28 D. The Economist. Entreprises et entrepreneurs africains (Paris: Karthala. pp. 2002. XVe–XVIIIe. S. introducing the discussion on ‘real governance’. The Indian Working Class of Durban. G.. 4. In a more academic vein. économie et capitalisme.). they pressured other emirates to stop doing so and respect the federal regulations. 1995). F. Ellis and Y. 1900–1990 (London: James Currey. Bibliography Adelkhah. which is one of the best journalistic accounts of this pattern. capitale économique de l’Iran’. L’Afrique est-elle protectionniste? Les chemins buissonniers de la libéralisation extérieure (Paris: Karthala. Hibou. ‘The Garrison Entrepôt’. Boulder: Westview. A. Fauré (eds). 1995). 32 J. Das Gupta. ‘Al Qaeda Cash Tied to Diamonds Trade. 1979. Farah. D. Benko. K. 1987). Dubai. 26 See the speech of the Dubai Crown Prince. Dubai. Ho. MacGaffey. at the Dubai Strategy Forum in November 2002. 2000. pp. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Steiner. ‘Somalia: An Unconventional Economy’. Civilisation matérielle. Commerce informel ou solution à la crise? (Paris: Karthala. 1700–1750. cité globale. Insiders and Outsiders. 39 Research in progress by the author. Clifford. Le commerce frontalier en Afrique centrale (Paris: Karthala. J. J. 35 K. MA: Harvard University Press. City-States in the Global Economy. Washington Post. 27 In reference to the point made by Mohamed Ayoob.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 109 25 Despite the fact that. 2002). .
V. The World Cities. Brill. New York: McGraw-Hill. Globalization in World History. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 150–2 (1998): 297–329. Roitman. Taylor.). S. Paris: CNRS-Editions. Farah. The Global City. 1995. Middle Eastern Studies 34/1 (1998): 87–102. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. London: James Currey. Dubai. 2002. 2 November 2001. D. and Fauré. New York: Oxford University Press. The Cambridge Economic History of India. ‘Le développement d’un état-cité maritime dans le Golfe: l’exemple de Dubayy’. Paris: Karthala. ‘Al Qaeda Cash Tied to Diamonds Trade. and Soule. (ed. Scott. P. B. Washington Post. La Péninsule arabique aujourd’hui. ‘Indian Merchants and the Indian Ocean’. Policy. Paris: Karthala.uk/gawc . A. Hall. Development and Change 17 (1986): 69–84. MacGaffey. ‘Report Says Africans Harbored Al Qaeda Terror Assets Hidden in Gem-Buying Spree’. Sassen. Hopkins. 2001. Heard-Bey. G. Hibou. E. Farah. pp. ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society: The Case of Dubai. Hadhrami Traders. (ed. and Clarence-Smith. F. Freitag. 1997. 1966. Leiden: E. ‘Global and World Cities: A View from Off the Map’. Washington Post. N. (ed.dree. R. The Banker.org/emirates (May 2002). Ellis. al-Sayegh. Oxford: Oxford University Press. L’Etat entrepôt au Bénin. 1900–1990.110 Roland Marchal Das Gupta. 1 January 2003. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.). Commerce informel ou solution à la crise?. A. et al. J. 1900–1990’. Friedmann. Nye. ‘Somalia: An Unconventional Economy’. The Invention of Tradition. S. ‘Bahrein and Dubai: Competition for Centre Stage’. www. Marchal. cité globale. 1987. 2001. F. L’Afrique est-elle protectionniste? Les chemins buissonniers de la libéralisation extérieure. Entrepreneurs and Parasites: The Struggle for Indigenous Capitalism. Theory. pp. 1996. Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean.loughborough. pp. in Paul Bonnefant (ed. Freund. Khalaf. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26/3 (September 2002): 531–54. (eds). G. ‘The World City Hypothesis’. S. vol. Entreprises et entrepreneurs africains. D. vol. Ethnology 39/3 (Summer 2000): 243–61. 1750–1960. The Paradox of American Power. Paris: Editions du CNRS. J. DREE (Direction des relations économiques extérieures) Les exportations et réexportations de Dubai vers l’Irak en 2000 et 2001. http:/www. J. Igue. ‘Introduction’. International Relations Theory and the Third World. B. Development and Change 9 (1988): 203–65. 2002. 1995. The Indian Working Class of Durban. ‘The Garrison Entrepôt’. Sale of Gems from Sierra Leone Rebels Raised Millions Sources Say’. 1991. Hobsbawm. S. 1983. K. A. Insiders and Outsiders. J. Y. 1998. London: Random House. Princeton: Princeton University Press. I. U. Global City-Regions: Trends. Neuman. 1997. W. P. Dudley. 2001. J. Robinson. Hobsbawm and T. 29 December 2002.). 1–14. 1982. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ranger (eds). B. J. in E. Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go it Alone. ‘Poetics and Politics of the Newly Invented Traditions in the Gulf: Camel Racing in the United Arab Emirates’. 523–57.). Paris: Karthala. II. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Jamal. 407–33.ac.
In simplistic. who continue to play a crucial mediating role in the emergence of this pan-Arab market. since the internet and the print media and publications are admittedly important missing pieces. the study of professional activities. preliminary terms. media and increasingly easy travel have already excited much interest in the so-called ‘globalization process’.1 music and visual production industries presented here is not intended to provide a comprehensive view of modern media operations in the Middle East. if not increasingly. in particular those related to the satellite industry. however. The choice of the satellite television. advertising representation (régies). The degree of crossborder activities among media professionals at the turn of the twenty-first century is indeed fostering a remarkable degree of interconnectedness among the peoples of the Middle East. however. At the same time. On the contrary. a detailed analysis of this trend will also highlight the persistently distinct roles played by various locations and nationals in the region – most noticeably Saudis. locations of operations and investment strategies of individuals and companies in the media industries will highlight patterns whereby countries and nationals persistently.5 The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries Gaëlle Le Pottier The rise and intensification of professional and investment transnational media activities throughout the Middle East today may very well be bringing this region closer to becoming a true pan-Arab market than ever before. the exceptionally low levels of outside foreign investment and the use of a shared language have encouraged the emergence of one regional market. In the Middle East. The effects of new technologies. are so intricately interconnected that their study in conjunction with one another becomes . geared to the taste and demands of a Gulf consumer audience and most often operated and controlled creatively by Lebanese and Egyptian professionals. who finance most region-wide media ventures. from North Africa all the way to the Gulf states. The selected satellite-related industries. play complementary yet distinct roles. and Lebanese. advertising. This is not to say that these increasing transnational exchanges are leading to the formation of one homogeneous region. this chapter argues that these industries are mostly financed by Gulf investors. increasingly integrated into a global system while at the same time distinctly inter-Arab in nature. This chapter will show that this trend is noticeably true in the case of the culturally influential modern media industries.
Among the various industries of interest to us. The equipment used and the way business is run leaves little doubt as to the region’s growing integration into a global economic system. Integrating into a global system As mentioned earlier. the focus of this chapter is on an analysis of samples illustrating the overall rationale behind investment deals. despite the fact that its managers and its basic local structure have remained unchanged. No doubt each one of these industries deserves a separate and more detailed study. the evolution of the advertising industry in the past 20 years provides the most obvious example of this growing integration. And Lebanon’s successful bid to host the International Advertising Association congress in May 2002 is in great part due to its active participation in the IAA. The current world president. the way the industry is evolving shows the degree to which it follows international trends. corporate identity. media . although many will admit that most creative directors still tend more or less simply to emulate what is being done in the West. Jean-Claude Boulos. the evolution of a more pan-Arab market does not preclude the region’s integration into a global system adhering to international (mostly North American and European) trends and professional standards.112 Gaëlle Le Pottier essential to our understanding of their recent evolution. the Lebanese agency H&C became H&C–Leo Burnett in the 1980s. professional and strategic level also helps better to identify and explain patterns of broader relevance. Today. the examples used for each of these industries should be viewed as a representative illustration of findings based on over one year of field research in the Middle East3 and some 150 interviews with media professionals mainly based in Lebanon and Egypt. the quality of advertising has considerably improved. and in fact the third Lebanese to be elected to this position in the 64 years of the existence of this US-based institution. advertising. From the late 1980s. the Middle East has obviously also been greatly affected by the introduction of new technologies which make cross-border information exchanges increasingly cheap and easy. Hence.4 For instance.5 More importantly. Product advertising is slowly evolving towards the building of brand loyalty. Owing in great part to the recent introduction of satellite television. On the contrary. nine out of ten of the largest advertising agencies in the Middle East are either fully or mostly owned by large American or European firms.2 Yet their interdependence at a financial. on the nature of interaction between key professional regional players and on the logic behind the various strategic decisions made throughout the evolution of these increasingly pan-Arab industries. one of the largest advertising associations in the world. represented in 95 different countries. The latest structural changes from ‘full service’ agencies to the creation of separate companies specializing in the various media services (public relations. Over the years. the existent regional networks – almost all Lebanese – were progressively bought out by the largest international advertising agencies. and is now simply known as Leo Burnett. is Lebanese. at times meeting the highest international standards. the people of the Middle East are now also more aware of the outside world than ever before. In other words.
Peter Einstein replaced him as Showtime’s president. French and South African) and only one was Lebanese. But as one of the media directors puts it: It would not be very wise to try to stop or fight trends because we are dealing with one global economy. the same proportion was true for their directors of photography. Italian. having held that position since its beginnings in the early 1990s. Preproduction meetings are almost always conducted entirely in English. MBC’s CEO from 1998 to 2000. for example. Today. Talkies. we work with multi-nationals that are now accustomed to a new way of working and it would be very difficult to convince the same clients. that things should be different here. production houses in Beirut. Although the production companies in the Middle East have remained locally owned. or were until recently. the style and quality of production by now mostly meets international standards.)6 are even more telling of the extent to which current regional trends are influenced by the local industry’s integration into a global network. some of the largest pan-Arab stations and television networks are. the make-up of production teams is remarkably international. while directorial expertise was mainly brought in from Europe. For example. Furthermore. Ian Richie. As is the case in all other Beirut-based production companies. the agencies and actors were almost all based in the Middle East. a US national. Europe and the Middle East. working with the same groups in the US. It goes without saying that each of these individuals also brought along with him a few close Western associates to help him . John Tydeman (an Australian national) was first involved in the Middle East as the CEO of Showtime (the fastest-growing pay-TV network in the region) and now heads ORBIT’s most direct competitor. one of the largest production houses in Beirut. or partnerships. if media professionals openly admit that these new entities – and in particular the introduction of media buying units – are the direct consequence of their international associations. positioning it as the most popular station in the Middle East today. Alexander Zilo. Indeed. which in the past would most probably only have been entrusted to their Western counterparts. Until very recently all film development and postproduction work was also done in Europe. headed by Western general managers. Arab Digital Distribution (ART network). spearheaded the channel’s drastic structural and strategic changes. they also generally recognize the fact that the Middle Eastern market does not yet produce enough advertising revenue to make them profitable. Cairo or Dubai produce the majority of the large-budget advertising productions. So. hired for their Western know-how in the management and restructuring of large telecommunication companies. Only markets producing large advertising revenues could financially justify the creation of specialized companies that would generate real economies of scale to compensate for the added intermediary and the cost of creating new entities.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 113 content etc. was until recently head of the ORBIT network. provided a detailed breakdown of its last eight productions: seven directors were foreigners (Belgian. and in Beirut in particular. In satellite television.
both in the way the news is presented and in the way auditors are invited to participate in live programmes and debates. in both absolute and relative terms. it may not be fitting simply to view ‘the spread of western media as one-way cultural imperialism’. in the USA almost $400 is spent per capita. we are beginning to see advertisers and television stations emulating the type of viewership and audience analysis that is now systematically performed in North America and Europe. Depending on sources. know-how. the most popular entertainment programmes in the Middle East today are adaptations of Western programmes. But still operating within a distinctly Arab market Yet. Although the vast majority of non-Lebanese satellite stations are either publicly owned or in the hands of officials close to state authorities. News and political programmes are also often adaptations of Western formats. as Sakr eloquently argues.8 It would be difficult to dispute the growing presence and influence of Western managerial styles. for good reason. however. they are also acting and thinking more and more as private enterprises operating in a competitive market. is an insightful one: according to the Lebanese advertising monthly Arab Ad. the media industries remain fairly isolated or exclusively regional in terms of their market reach and the nationality of their employees.3 billion for a population of about 150 million people.9 Total media revenues for the whole region amount to about $1. which has still not sufficiently evolved to be able to contribute creatively or professionally to Western professional developments. The importance of cultural insight and language may have limited Western presence in industries where these skills matter most. dissecting it into different age. in search of market-share gains and greater profitability. Market research in the Middle East has for instance started to examine the differing tastes and aspirations of a multilayered consumer base. The Middle Eastern market is not only an unfamiliar market.10 . provides a more convincing argument. almost the same amount ($1. The limited revenues and low profitability of the media world in the region. However. In spite of their real integration into a wider international – essentially Western – context. while in Israel. professional and technical standards. but the levels of advertising revenues generated throughout the region – and upon which these industries rest – are also and above all remarkably low. managers and investors. . the Middle Eastern media world is essentially and almost exclusively managed and financed by Arab citizens.7 . such as MBC’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire – by far one of the most popular and financially rewarding programmes on air.2 billion) is spent on a population of some 4. the figures vary considerably and remain unreliable. The broad comparison of yearly advertising expenditures per capita between the Western world and the Middle East. While media professionals. for example. . however. in comparison to about $16 in the Middle East.5 million people. continue to lament the poor quality of research in the region. Meanwhile.114 Gaëlle Le Pottier implement his own vision and strategies. sex and occupational groups.
Foreign directors. brought in for the duration of the filming (usually a couple of days). the industry of advertising representation remains an exclusively Arab domain. . The aforementioned Western managers are also in fact exceptions in the satellite television industry. Arab advertising agencies essentially manage their own affairs with. bring foreign prestige.12 The owners of these channels and networks remained. In her paper on the Middle Eastern advertising world. ‘the establishment of international advertising agencies in the Middle East is more a way for them to secure their multinational clientele in other regions of the world than a strategy for the conquest of new markets’. But because television stations. Western professionals in television are even rarer than those in the advertising field. skills and local assets in order to achieve higher quality and profitability. As we will see later. and why international firms have very limited direct involvement in the management of the region’s advertising industry. Low revenues are not only keeping Western investors at bay. their Western partners or buyers practically guaranteed them the handling of important accounts for some of the largest global spenders. The logistics of their alliance. the ultimate decision makers. Production houses are also all locally managed.11 This point is relevant inasmuch as it confirms the limited degree of the involvement of the multinational agencies in the daily running of local affairs and in the actual creative process of their Middle Eastern representatives or partners. had concrete yet differing reasons for close collaboration. however. interestingly. beyond national borders and within the confines of a pan-Arab market.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 115 Western acquisitions of regional advertising networks should therefore be viewed in the light of the market’s limited financial rewards. but essentially have as much decision-making power as local directors as far as the final execution of advertisements is concerned. Leïla Vignal points to the fact that large international agencies basically extended their network to the region mainly for global strategic reasons. in order to service their clients wherever those clients’ products are sold. but essentially leave the market in the hands of Arab media professionals and investors who are reaching beyond their home territory to seek revenues. Both parties. In the 1980s and 1990s the largest Arab networks saw their absorption into global networks as an opportunity. acting and strategizing on a pan-Arab scale The limitations of Western involvement in the Middle Eastern media world are especially relevant to the argument of this chapter inasmuch as they help to explain why regional players are thinking and acting more and more at the regional level. Benefiting from the logic of international brand allegiance.13 Investing. Western and Middle Eastern advertising networks. In other words. and still remain. also explains why little has changed at the regional level in terms of who runs the industry. an overwhelming majority of Lebanese in the positions of managing directors and creative directors. These managers were essentially brought in as professionals with Western know-how who would implement large structural changes and share their expertise of the more experienced Western world. following a logic and structure particular to the Arab world.
beginning one hour earlier and on Saturdays instead of on Mondays. such as MBC. Other stations. jumping from a 20 per cent to a 40 per cent market share and becoming the type of advertising dissemination with the fastest revenue growth by far. the region is also witness to the emergence of a few state players or wealthy financiers (mostly Saudi. for example.116 Gaëlle Le Pottier centre stage of all satellite-related industries. Today. production houses and advertising professionals are reaching outside their home markets. such as MBC of course. Not only has technology allowed media to reach regional audiences. for an increasingly low cost. also reaped the benefits of pan-Arab advertising revenues. Based in a saturated Lebanese home market. LBC (satellite) generated an estimated revenue of $45 million. for example. who are willing and able to finance television stations and invest in various media activities in exchange for greater prestige and influence at the regional level. with too many stations and too little aggregate revenue. So basically. as opposed to $23 million on LBCI (terrestrial). So. if not at the international level within the Arab diaspora. even if the Saudi state station is the most watched in Saudi Arabia (clearly the most important national advertising market in the Middle East). while Future TV made about $5 million at home compared to a much higher $23 million on its satellite channel. advertisers still prefer spending their money on pan-Arab press and television stations. in 2001. Between 1986 and 1999 alone.14 So.15 Their early entry into the popular pan-Arab satellite market. for example. the importance of their non-Lebanese audience is such that Future TV and Future Sat. to break even or even generate profit. advertising representatives. but a pan-Arab market reach has also become the obvious and essential means of achieving the required higher revenues. pan-Arab advertising revenues went from generating $52 million to $518 million. with very little added cost. now temporarily accessible only to those with a C-Band. along with MBC. they were suddenly able to generate much higher income. changed the timing of their popular early-morning programmes to suit the schedule of their Gulf audience in the summer of 2002. becoming a truly pan-Arab enterprise and the most popular and profitable station in the region. This is even more so in the case of Al Jazeera . are essentially non-profitable. Television Private stations such as Future TV and LBC were among the first to reap the benefits of the rising popularity of satellite television when they began broadcasting on free-to-air satellite between 1995 and 1997. some Egyptian). which have a much larger cumulative audience. In search of a pan-Arab market and revenues There are several reasons why television stations. they became the first and only television stations in the whole area.16 allows them to use most of the programmes they are already producing for their home territory for their pan-Arab station. LBC or Al Jazeera.
the easier it is for them to successfully secure revenues for each medium. for example. Hence.19 The case of a lesser yet nevertheless true pan-Arab player. These exclusive intermediaries are. Abi Assi explains that in order to operate as a media representative. MBC’s representative) also need to build a solid pan-Arab client base in order to represent each one of them efficiently. to some extent in a position to require advertisers to place advertisements in several other media to be able to use the one they really want.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 117 (at times the most widely watched Arab channel in the Middle East and abroad as well). considerably helped from the outset by its privileged ties to a wealthy home market. much of the flow and distribution of advertising revenue throughout the region.21 Apart from a few private. with offices in Lebanon. remains too small a country to generate any substantial amount of advertising revenue. we are therefore left with only a small number of successful in-house representatives who represent sufficiently large or important media such as MBC (ARA) or the ART Network (AMC). and that this is only feasible if one is present in multiple locations.17 Media representation Media representation today is an area of activity basically dominated by two major pan-Arab players. . Qatar. Antoine Choueiri. The wider its clientele. Dubai and Paris. confirms this growing and general propensity towards region-wide representation. television and magazines have clear reasons for choosing representation from an agent with a wide pan-Arab network and operational base. Najah Abi Assi. such as Zen TV (a Dubai– Future TV joint venture. as well as ORBIT. one Saudi – al-Khalijia – and one Lebanese – Antoine Choueiri’s group.20 Najah Abi Assi. clearly dominating. Indeed. this is also why media authorities in Egypt. as well as to the advertisers who want to buy advertising space. pan-Arab players. independent media representatives (neither state-controlled nor in-house representatives such as ARA. Although a relatively small player. were also recently created with no home target market in mind but clearly for a Gulf-wide or generally Arab audience. mostly grew through the expansion of its activities outside strict national borders. New stations. the large pay-TV pan-Arab television network. to represent their satellite channels. At the same time. he needs to be physically close to the media he represents. mostly represents Lebanese and Kuwaiti newspapers and magazines. Saudi Arabia. Even the Egyptian government has made concerted efforts to revamp the programmes of its satellite stations in order to attract greater outside viewership. aimed at the youth market). and to some extent controlling. Both have a strong home-market base but have become panArab media giants. which still maintains strong state control over its television industry at the national level. even if their audience is localized. Antoine Choueiri benefited from the increasing popularity and regional expansion of the Lebanese media and other key pan-Arab players such as Al Jazeera. Kuwait. since its home base.18 while al-Khalijia (fully owned by the Saudi Research Media Company). opted for a private agent.
When the multi-million-dollar Marina Towers project in downtown Beirut decided to launch an advertising campaign. Most representative offices now focus their operations on their local market and act fairly independently from one another. in time and money. so that eventually only the strongest work would be presented to the client. attend conferences and training sessions or participate in pre-production meetings. Professionals themselves also compete for positions at the regional level. they invited several regional agencies to pitch a creative marketing campaign. So we come here. a competitive and technical edge and varied local scenery. but the industry there is still nascent and much less experienced. locally servicing a much wider clientele wherever they happened to be.22 A Saudi advertising agent who came to Beirut to attend a preproduction meeting explains: ‘The degree of professionalism and the quality of production. all the major Lebanese production houses now produce between 70 and 80 per cent of their work for a Gulf-based clientele. they were actually pioneering a professional regionalization process.118 Gaëlle Le Pottier Production houses Region-wide operations and professional exchanges are an obvious trait in the production of advertisements in the Middle East. There are actually almost no advertising managers who have not worked in several locations. However. A growing number of production houses are now opening in Dubai. the advertising hub of the Middle East. frequently interchanging creative directors and managers between agencies and/or across borders. Helped by the wide and early spread of Lebanese adverting agencies and professionals throughout the region – those that commission the productions – the business of advertising production in Lebanon boomed from the latter part of the 1980s to the mid-1990s. . Dubai and Beirut. of course. some of them Lebanese owned. pretty much guaranteed in Beirut. and in particular Dubai. travel outside their home base to meet with clients. for large bids – usually for large international clients and/or big-budget campaigns – agencies may compete internally against one another.’23 Egypt. is worth the cost. generally unable to attract outside commissions for a non-Egyptian audience. The advertising labour market is indeed highly mobile. for us. Owing to relatively high production budgets. These individuals also frequently. Thereafter each agency had its main offices throughout the Middle Eastern network compete to produce a full campaign. these production houses were even able to compensate for the added cost of producing outside the Gulf states. also has an important number of production houses but they work almost exclusively for their home market. Indeed. usually moving between Saudi Arabia. while at the same time offering them regional know-how and infrastructure. of course. We require the best and they can give it to us. Advertising agencies When the Lebanese advertising agencies began their regional spread in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
including their ability to communicate in Arabic. advertising. is not simply due to the identity of the companies themselves. but largely represented by one national group spread across the region. The success of Lebanese presenters and entertainment professionals is interesting inasmuch as their regional success has grown out of a cultural and social distinctiveness. talent is also sought out and marketed on a region-wide basis. with their popular and experienced film industry. estimates that 70–75 per cent of the budgets in the Arab countries ‘are in the hands of either Lebanese companies or Lebanese affiliates of international companies’. Jean-Claude Boulos. so the majority are expected to look for jobs at the regional level. filming and marketing taught in foreign languages (English or French). Those with talent pools who have been successful at the regional level are the Egyptians.25 while also offering their students the opportunity to carry out practical training in a relatively active private local media market.26 When it comes to the production process. provide them with a marketable competitive edge. The labour market in the advertising world is therefore not locally supplied. the World President of the IAA. and the Lebanese in satellite television.24 This Lebanese dominance. Gulf viewers in particular have been watching Lebanese television programmes as both a curiosity and a window into a much more liberal Arabic-speaking world which introduces subjects and dress codes not allowed in their home countries. even if. It is also worth mentioning that in the music industry. the largest markets remain those of the Gulf. as it is dissimilar while being geographically distant enough not to represent a threat to their own values. but their overwhelming presence is quite obvious to any observer. A look at the distinct Lebanese lifestyle is itself a source of entertainment. In the case of . Lebanese producers maintain a relatively strong regional presence. fine arts.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 119 In search of regional skills and talent The high degree of mobility and interconnectedness of advertising professionals across the region is in great part due to the fact that a large proportion of these individuals are Lebanese nationals. As we will see later. as mentioned earlier. as in advertising. it is also due to their level of qualification. while. In search of local assets In the businesses of advertising and advertising representation (régies). rather than their similarity to the audience to whom they owe their popularity. Egyptian actors remain the most abundant and qualified group in the region. If a large proportion of the managers and creative agents are Lebanese. Egyptian and especially Syrian and Lebanese singers in fact base their financial success on a regional – and particularly Gulf – market audience. Lebanon is home to a proportionally large number of universities which offer specialized degrees in graphic design. It is difficult to estimate the exact proportion of Lebanese. however. operators are required to have local offices wherever their clients are based. Their graduating classes are obviously too large to be absorbed into the local market. where their technical skills and linguistic abilities.
on the other hand. social and strategic assets. most regionally spread out and financially powerful media groups in the Middle East today. because he is only really present on the media stage through his network. The emergence of a few omnipresent pan-Arab media financiers In fact. the base of a large number of competitive private channels. Beirut. supplies a valuable pool of qualified human resources and a distinct cultural cachet within a relatively creative and free socio-cultural environment. Cairo and its nearby media free zone provide access to a modern infrastructure and studios as well as a large number of experienced and talented actors and technicians. however. the customer (the audience) and the provider (the stations) do not need to be close to one another. Kuwait and Syria. ORBIT. therefore. in terms of production and investment. while the newer Gulf stations operate on a multi-location basis.27 The truly transnational stations. cheap locales and an efficient and investment-friendly bureaucratic set-up. the setting up of its new headquarters in Dubai was accompanied by a noticeable increase in production activities in Cairo and Beirut as well. which typically stay put in their own national territory. Egyptian and Lebanese stations by and large produce all of their programmes at home. choosing to open offices in several locations in order to maximize on distinct yet complementary economic. by and large. invariably initiating collaborations and partnerships with non-Gulf audiovisual partners. Dubai and. ART and some of the most recent specialized stations are now operating on a transnational and regional basis. and not the Lebanese or the Egyptian ones.120 Gaëlle Le Pottier satellite television. to a lesser extent.28 So if the Lebanese typically export their know-how – acting as the region’s quintessential facilitators of transnational professional and cultural dissemination – it is mostly Saudi investors who have been exporting the capital that finances and strengthens transnational Arab media operations. More interesting is the fact that channels and networks behind the emergence of these regional production centres are all Gulf owned and financed. be attributed to the few Saudi owners of Gulf stations who also head the largest. Dubai and its Media City offer the convenience of modern. Walid bin Ibrahim was the . Beirut. For this reason. ORBIT and ART. When MBC decided to relocate in the Middle East. Television stations are therefore free to operate from whichever location best suits their strategic needs and financial means. What we have witnessed in the past few years is in fact the emergence of multicentres. ORBIT. by far the largest spenders in satellite television. each offering a combination of assets for media productions. Gulf financiers behind MBC. which no one location is able to supply fully. are the Gulf stations. Yet this network is still reported to have so far spent close to $1 billion in operation costs:29 a particularly large investment considering its meagre advertising revenues and its relatively small subscription base. this latest pattern can. have also diversified and intensified their operations in key locations such as Egypt’s Media City. A relatively more modest player among them is Prince Khalid bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-Rahman.
Through Rotana and its involvement with the Arab Holding Company for Arts and Publishing (AHCAP). Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali and future Al Nahar publications. purchased a very large collection of Egyptian films. since it is principally owned by Egyptian investors. through Ibrahim El Moallem and Dal El Shurouq. Italy. media representative in the Middle East – now managed by Antoine Choueiri. holds some 50 media-related companies. In media alone. however.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 121 principal player behind MBC when it was created in 1991 but is also and above all the owner of the larger ARA group International Holding Company. film production. the largest and most powerful Arab music production company in the region. AHCAP is the important exception to the predominantly Gulf-based pan-Arab investment patterns mentioned above. arguably the most important Middle Eastern cultural heritage of the twentieth century.35 The recent alliance of these Saudi investors with this large private Egyptian company is especially relevant to our analysis of current transnational trends in . which according to one of its directors. having by now also. if not the largest. LBC (satellite) and Rotana. however. Muhammad Yassine. its ambitions reach far beyond the music world. ranging from newspapers to advertising businesses and representatives.31 Walid bin Talal and Saleh Kamel’s involvement with AHCAP (they are now board members) should not come as a surprise. Prince Khalid bin Sultan is the owner of the most widely respected pan-Arab newspapers. Lebanon’s national television station. Muhammad Hassanein Heikal. al-Hayat. campaign for ownership and/or distribution rights in the music industry. Meanwhile. they are now also involved in an increasingly active. which used to be one of the largest. he owns 10 per cent of MTV. AHCAP has indirectly secured exclusive deals with Sawt El Fan (which owns the rights to a large number of Umm Kalthoum’s songs).33 AHCAP also recently purchased Sawt Lubnan’s rights. Saleh Kamel at first held a large percentage of MBC’s shares before selling them a few years later. for example. representing a large portion of the most popular singers in the region32 and recently purchasing important (though relatively small) record companies such as Sawt Lubnan (Lebanese) and Sawt El Fan (Egyptian) – now therefore owning the rights to classic performers such as Abdel Halim Hafez and Farid El Atrash. since Rotana has dominated the music-production business in the Middle East. As one of its co-founders. and also officially owns Tihama. The most noticeable and omnipresent players among them. Arab research media and ART and its platform for diffusion in Avenzano. films. active in various sectors of the media industry. however. cinemas and publications throughout the Middle East. but in the Middle East alone. if not aggressive. he now owns 60 per cent of Rotana and 49 per cent of LBC. He also recently offered to buy Télé Liban. Saleh Kamel is the majority owner of Arab Media Company. and is a major co-shareholder of ART (AMC).34 Admittedly. Along with Walid bin Talal. Walid bin Talal’s involvement in the media and in telecommunications around the world is remarkably high.30 Gulf owners’ involvement in the arts and the media does not stop there. are Shaykh Saleh Kamel (owner of the Dallah al-Baraka group of companies) and Prince al-Walid bin Talal bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (head of Kingdom Holding).
122 Gaëlle Le Pottier the media industry of the Middle East. Much has already been said and written about the weakening hold of the state over what people see in the media following the regional inception of satellite television. contrary to what may be assumed from private investors. the investments of the key Gulf individuals also need to be put in the context of the changing yet enduring role of the state in the media. few Gulf singers have succeeded in capturing the interest of audiences outside the GCC states. are far from being able to reasonably expect the same. To understand this phenomenon. reaching far beyond the borders of any given state. individuals such as Saleh Kamel and many others. partners and products also considerably contribute. Yet. but. but these remain exceptions in a media market marked by a growing demand for entertainment. this does not mean that they have by the same token succeeded in truly widening the audience for Gulf culture or inculcating Gulf-based political and social views in the rest of the Arab world. all presenting different views and interpretations of social and economic events. Walid bin Talal or even Khalid bin Sultan all attest to this. These individuals all maintain close ties to their home states – even Saleh Kamel. Financial investments. Therefore. These private investors’ choice of location. the above-mentioned wealthy individuals or even Gulf states financing popular pan-Arab productions may have gained personal or state prestige while facilitating cross-border investments and cultural exchanges. to the region’s globalization and regionalization process. Channels such as Al Jazeera and the Hezbollah-owned al-Manara stand out in so far as their political agendas continue to dominate content. including AHCAP’s shareholders. they are still operating in an industry which is by and large non-profitable. With the ability to choose from a variety of international channels. Professionals working closely with individuals such as Saleh Kamel. From a cultural and political standpoint. advertisements and music productions) especially at a time when viewership ratings are increasingly what matters most. thanks to the growing number of pan-Arab distribution channels and operations. in themselves. While MBC may now finally boast of its very recent financial viability. there now is a rising appetite in the Gulf for Arab singers from outside the Arabian Peninsula. It is true that this relatively small group of individuals alone has permitted the emergence of true regional media operations and basically hired most of the non-Gulf citizens working outside their home country. where almost all of his business is based. could not and did not give them actual control over media content (in television programmes. Presumably. the reason they remain involved in the media is the all-important element of prestige they gain from it. in so far as it points to an overall entrepreneurial and strategic approach. however important. especially since there are few other reasons that could help explain the huge financial losses they incur. films. Viewers are now exposed to an array of information channels. who needs to stay in the good graces of the Saudi authorities if he is to preserve his much larger financial interests in his home country. On the other hand. For instance. even if Rotana dominates the music industry. by and large. the impact of these transnational capital investments and business alliances should nevertheless not be overstated. viewers have become increasingly sophisticated and demanding as .
The nationalities of investors and .36 The states have.39 Conclusion Throughout this analysis of media industries. Al Jazeera37 has clearly succeeded in capturing the attention and the recognition of large regional audiences. letting its private Lebanese partner manage most of the operations in Lebanon. has by now become the regional channel par excellence. While still keeping a close watch over the airing of issues of domestic relevance. the nature and mode of crossborder activities undertaken by the various participants have confirmed the articulation of an increasingly pan-Arab market. Three examples clearly illustrate this phenomenon: Al Jazeera. Egyptian satellite and MBC. the private station LBC. Zen TV. the channel revamped its whole identity and programme grid. They too seek to gain greater prestige and influence abroad. The Egyptian government. the state still plays a very important role. has recently made concerted efforts to increase the popularity of Egyptian channels abroad. they are also playing by the new rules of the regional satellite market. Region-wide operations. market expansion and investments all point to modes of thinking and strategizing that reach far beyond a state’s own borders. although financed by a member of the Saudi royal family (and unofficially by King Fahd himself ). in a world where television stations remain by and large nonlucrative. al-Mehwar. MBC even decided to merge with the private Lebanese station Future Sat. the Dubai authorities had decided to basically finance the new channel.38 It even recently gave one of its precious state-owned C-Bands and preferential access to cinema archives and studios in order to help the new privately owned station. it has given Egyptian satellite channels a much greater degree of freedom. to compete at the regional level. which now rent both studios and equipment in those areas for production purposes. while also keeping much of its traditional state control over the domestic information channels. hired employees from across the region and introduced new programmes to compete aggressively with its direct rival. alliances. In attempting to do so. since it acts either as a direct financier and/or exerts a great deal of authority over the stations’ principal private financiers. in December 2001. becoming an entertainment rather than a news channel. themselves begun to act as competitive regional players while seeking to grasp the attention of audiences beyond their own borders. It opened offices throughout the Middle East. While keeping the required degree of control and socio-political censorship at home. To increase its advertising revenues and popularity. Yet. forcing channels to compete with one another to an unprecedented degree. foreign partners in order to compete better at a regional level. thereby indirectly increasing the fame and power of its home state of Qatar. In an effort to reduce its operational costs and further increase its advertising revenues.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 123 ‘consumers’. Egypt and Dubai even proved willing to minimize censorship and state control considerably in their media free zones in order to attract stations. MBC. in fact. Before that. States therefore now show increasing willingness to finance media operations outside their own territory (almost always at a loss) and associate themselves with private.
including France. On the one hand. 5 Previous Lebanese world presidents were Samir Fares (1988) and Moustafa Assad (1992). On the other hand. through disseminating and exporting their own particular brand of cachet.). Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose. 2003). 2003). 379–408. pp. ‘La publicité au Moyen-Orient: recompositions régionales et discours professionnels’ in ibid. advertising representation. the actual content of these pan-Arab media productions and the nationality of those working in the various modern media industries remain of a predominantly non-Gulf Arab nature. when it comes to television. advertising representatives operate differently from anywhere else. pp. in F. and Alain Battegay. In media. 349–78.). also often called régies from the French. we have Gulf investors who finance most pan-Arab operations and Gulf viewers who motivate the larger part of investments in pan-Arab media. They act as intermediaries between the media they represent and the agencies that need to go through them in order to book advertising space. modern media industries are nonetheless still marked by persistently clear sub-regional or nation-based patterns. even if mostly financed by Gulf investors.. Mermier (ed. 2 For a more detailed study of the satellite television industry and more specifically the role of Lebanon and the Lebanese within. are not to be confused with advertising agencies. Notes 1 Advertising representatives. since they enjoy exclusive representation rights over each medium. however. ‘Le monde de la télévision satellitaire au Moyen-Orient et le rôle du Liban et des Libanais dans son évolution’. music and visual production industries today. 4 For a detailed and insightful description of the history and ‘internationalization’ of these advertising networks see Leïla Vignal. as part of a research project on transnationalism and the Gulf states under the auspices of the British Economic and Social Research Council. . Both private and public players now focus their attention in the direction of achieving region-wide income and/or influence. 43–72. particularly in the Gulf. and above all those working in advertising. Gulf viewers and investors have therefore mostly allowed for the financing of media production and dissemination outside national state borders. Egyptian and Lebanese productions found their competitive edge abroad. Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose. and allowing for a regionalization of audiences. see Gaëlle Le Pottier. ‘Géographie de la publicité au MoyenOrient: entre échelle mondiale et échelle locale’. Mermier (ed. However. can more easily than ever before export their know-how and manpower as the pan-Arab market continues to grow.124 Gaëlle Le Pottier professionals and the location of operations have lost considerable relevance in the face of new possibilities and priorities. The Lebanese. 3 The research was mostly conducted in Lebanon between August 2000 and December 2001. In fact. In the Middle East. most often directed at Gulf audiences (perhaps more eager than others to consume media products from outside their own borders) are therefore now predominantly facilitated by non-Gulf Arab media professionals. in F. while adopting international professional standards and formats as part of the globalization process. investment and professional activities. transnational cultural flows. pp.
Most viewers today still watch satellite television on analogue (C-Band). are represented by national state-controlled institutions.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 125 6 Saatchi & Saatchi in Beirut. Bates (advertising geared towards the building of brand loyalty). 23 Interview. 25 For example. 9 Arab Ad. a means of transmission which is now saturated. for example. especially in Dubai and Lebanon. Impact – BBDO. December 2001. March 2001. January 2000. al-Safir). which. 14 Arab Ad. ‘La publicité’. These key professionals were therefore Western trained but still of Arab nationality. the largest Lebanese newspapers (al-Nahar. ‘The Rise and Fall of Lebanese Advertising’. the largest of its kind in the region with some 10. Arabian Outdoor. Creative Director. compete at the regional level. if not unreliable. several Lebanese radio stations. MTV (terrestrial). 17 Interview with Sanaa Mansour. University of Exeter. September 2000. ‘Rise and Fall’. Interview with Antoine Choueiri. p. including Sharq El Awsat and at one point (and indirectly) Future Sat. 32–6. Arab Ad. ex-director of the Egyptian satellite network. July–August 2002. 11 Vignal. 19 Al-Khalijia represents a large number of Saudi and pan-Arab media. 22 Jordan also has a few production houses. L’Orient–Le Jour. Once enough viewers switch to digital technology. Saatchi & Saatchi (advertising). 10 Battegay. Palestinians and Sudanese). spring 2001. 34. Arabies Trends. new and private stations will be able to participate in the sharing of real pan-Arab revenues. Only public stations and the two Lebanese stations subscribed on time to transmit on the free-to-air analogue channels. ‘Channels of Interaction: The Role of Gulf-Owned Media Firms in Globalisation’. 15 These figures are only estimates and remain controversial. July 2001. to some degree. Saudi-owned al-Hayat and Egyptian Sat (both through Tihama). pp. November 1999. and Zenith-Net. ‘Géographie’. 8 Naomi Sakr. January 2000. Television stations almost always produce their own programmes and few films are made – almost none outside Egypt. 16.000 panels. 20 Interview with Najah Abi Assi. 24 Smyth. is part of Quantum. l’Université Saint Joseph and l’Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA) have developed active and respected programmes in these areas. 13 Note that production houses in the Middle East mostly produce advertisements for television. 21 Their regular Egyptian channels. Al Jazeera. 18 Choueiri’s group represents LBC (satellite). See Arab Ad’s special issue on production houses. spring 2001. . paper presented at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. who had been working for the BBC Middle East station based in London.com (media content). but they nonetheless adequately highlight the importance of pan-Arab revenues as compared to national ones. and is very active in outdoor advertising through one of its companies. See also Gareth Smyth. a series of national and pan-Arab magazines. 7 Dani Richa. p. Bahrain’s national television station and radio. p. however. 16 This temporary limitation is due only to technological reasons. a newly formed group servicing its clients through separate companies providing complementary yet distinct services: Cordiant United (public relations). 12 Al Jazeera also benefited from foreign expertise inasmuch as the core of its professional staff was from the start made up of Arab professionals (mostly Lebanese. 11. This new ‘communication group’ is in fact a direct reflection of what happened to the mother company abroad. the Lebanese American University. Brand Central (corporate identity). the American University of Beirut.
34 Al-Ahram Weekly. the Arab company for Sound and the Arab Company for Publishing (Ibrahim El Moallem). the state-owned television station. both media free zones seem by now quite successful. A compromise may be reached with a long-term leasing agreement. deeming it unconstitutional. apparently an important decision maker in the company). Washington. Dubai TV and Future TV’s joint venture. the audio-visual authorities have stalled the process. Bibliography Alterman. 37 Although it is not officially state owned. 32 For example. December 2001. besides Télé Liban. 31 AHCAP’s official shareholders: EFG Hermes (17. DC: Washington Institute of New East Policy. each private station is financed by principal political players such as the Speaker of Parliament. ex-director of the Egyptian satellite network. Rotana is the current producer for Asala Masri. a wellknown Egyptian actress. and three smaller shareholders supposedly given a 1 per cent share in return for assuming administrative responsibilities: Ahmed Heikkey (head of EFG Hermes). 33 Ibrahim El Moallem has also laid out some ambitious plans in the publishing and distribution business and e-business for the whole region (al-Ahram Weekly. 35 The number is difficult to assess since this massive purchase remains quite controversial. the Prime Minister or other wealthy individuals active on the political scene. he is an important yet discreet player behind the scenes – a Jordanian businessman married to Isaad Yunis. al-Arabi Investment Company (17.126 Gaëlle Le Pottier 26 Other countries from the Western world or Asia also supply qualified professionals. ‘New Media. with regard to Lebanese artists alone. 30 Although the Lebanese government welcomed this offer and probably first approached Saleh Kamel.5 per cent). Majda al-Roumi. B. 29 So has ART network. among others. ORBIT and ART’s collaboration and co-productions with LBC. George Wassouf. 5–11 October 2000 and issue 510. 39 By and large. creative directors and copywriters. 1998. Kazem al-Saher. especially in Dubai. Abu Dhabi TV and MTV’s special Ramadan programme in 2001. Alla El Khawaga (15 per cent. . Policy Paper 49. issue 502. also a shareholder). Al Jazeera’s owner is Qatar’s Foreign Minister and it is therefore closely linked to the state. In the absence of a clear state authority or identity. Ziad Bahaaedin. especially as managers. J. 30 November–6 December 2000). 28 This even includes new channels such as al-Mehwar in Egypt and the Dubai–Future TV joint venture which is still mostly produced in Lebanon.5 per cent). Ibrahim El Moallem (15 per cent. 38 Interview with Sanaa Mansour. AHCAP is sectioned into three principal companies: the Arab company for Visual Media (Alaa El Khawaga). However. and Isaad Yunis. Arabic speakers still have a relative advantage. for fear that these private investors might be able to monopolize these very popular ‘cultural goods’. 30 November– 6 December 2000. 5–11 October 2000 and issue 510. 36 Lebanese stations may seem like an exception to this rule. the case of the Lebanese stations still fits into the regional pattern. as one of the only investors who would be willing venture into this nonlucrative institution. Future TV and MTV. New Politics? From Satellite Television to the Internet in the Arab World’. But given the fact that 90 per cent of advertisements are in Arabic and that quality advertising requires strong cultural insight (so that the viewers can ‘relate to the ad’ produced). Zen TV. 27 For example: the recent MBC–Future so-called merger. Nawal Zoughbi and the 4 Cats. issue 502. famous Egyptian publisher of Dar El Shuruq.
July 2001. electronic journal) 1 (Fall 1998). Smyth. Arabies Trends. J. Sami. ‘The Business of Culture’. Alterman. Middle Eastern Cities. pp. pp. paper presented at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Tauris. Columbia University. Transnational Broadcasting Studies (TBS. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose. in F.Georgetown. Sakr. Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 127 Alterman. September 2001. B. ‘Technology. in F. working paper on New Media and Information Technology in the Middle East. Anderson. 2001. A. TBS 2 (Spring 1999). K. 2003. Saatchi and Saatchi ‘Lebanon Country Promotion’. 2003. Globalization and the Middle East. 43–72. B. ‘The Evolution and Revolution of the Arab Satellite TV Stations Versus the Local Broadcast Media in the Arab Countries’. and advisers in Lebanon and Egypt (August 2000–December 2001). Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe. also at www. 2002. B. Sakr. pp. N. L. 379–408. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press. Le Pottier. Mermier (ed. delivered at the Middle East Institute. . ‘Le monde de la télévision satellitaire au Moyen-Orient et le rôle du Liban et des Libanais dans son évolution’. ‘The Rise and Fall of Lebanese Advertising’. Miami. Darouni. Armbrust. 349–78. J. W. 30 November–6 December 1999. G. A. pp. ‘La publicité au Moyen-Orient: recompositions régionales et discours professionnels’. Vignal.htm. ‘Géographie de la publicité au Moyen-Orient: entre échelle mondiale et échelle locale’. Essam El-Din. see nmit.). al-Ahram Weekly. Satellite Realms: Transnational Television. 5–11 October 2001. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose. 1900–1950. paper presented to the IAA Education Conference. J. art directors. Sakr. ‘Colonizing Popular Culture or Creating Modernity? Architectural Metaphors and Egyptian Media’. London and New York: I. C. ‘Transnational Media and Regionalism’. agenda for image country promotion campaign (unpublished). Media and the Next Generation in the Middle East’. producers. Skovgaard-Petersen (eds). Battegay. Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe. University of Exeter. N. G. Mermier (ed. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose.).arabies. 2001. issue 510. al-Ahram Weekly. Mermier (ed. Korsholm Neilsen and J. in F. 2003. ‘Transnational Media and Social Change in the Arab World’. 28 September 1999. TBS 1 (Fall 1998). ‘The Regulation of Arab Satellite Broadcasting’. in H.).edu/paper/jwanderson. ‘Channels of Interaction: The Role of Gulf-Owned Media Firms in Globalisation’. November 1999. 20–43. W.com. G. issue 502. Interviews with some 150 media professionals: media owners. N. ‘The Art of Monopoly’.
The centrality of the pilgrimage in Islam brought Indonesians1 to Arabia to perform this important religious obligation. The second phase. this second phase is a function of both the need for expatriate labour in Saudi Arabia and of Indonesia’s uneven economic development. In contrast.6 Indonesians in Saudi Arabia Religious and economic connections Mathias Diederich For a long time. it is unlikely that workers will challenge structures that maintain their marginality or push for better working conditions. often in lowskilled jobs. While Indonesia benefits from migrant workers’ remittances. who constitute a majority among Indonesian workers in Saudi Arabia. stimulated by the pilgrimage. or continued to travel between Mecca and Indonesia. was characterized by the predominance of religious contacts. There is a strong tradition of exchange between the two regions. It is argued that the first phase generated intense transnational connections. although today the number of Indonesian migrants in Saudi Arabia outnumber pilgrims. which failed to absorb excess human resources in the country itself. continued. Two distinct phases of contact are discussed in this chapter. Religious contacts before the Second World War Contacts between Arabia and South East Asia are ancient. Indonesian Muslims maintained strong links with their counterparts in the Islamic world. a small minority stayed behind. especially Indonesian female housemaids. after the Second World War. despite efforts by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international efforts drawing attention to the plight of workers. Mecca and Medina in the Hijaz. which lasted until the Second World War. While religious contacts. especially with the holy cities of Arabia. While the majority of Indonesians returned to their country after the hajj. was marked by the increased migration of Indonesian economic workers to Saudi Arabia to seek employment. centred on religious learning and motivated by contacts with other Muslims in the Hijaz. With the spread of Islam beyond . The first phase. such migrants remain marginal transnational actors. both threatened the stability of Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia and prompted the Dutch authorities to intervene and control the flow of both people and discourses. whose weak bargaining position in both Saudi Arabia and Indonesia prevents them from playing a leading role in transnational processes. The Indonesian connections with Saudi Arabia demonstrate the importance of the structure within which such connections take place.
10 Interestingly. which still flourishes there. they made use of knowledge about commerce and money lending gained in Mecca while at the same time benefiting from their new social status as hajji. especially from Hadramaut.’ The mukims of Javanese origin in the Hijaz were even described as helpless by the Dutch Consul in Jeddah:8 ‘How smart the Javanese may be in their own country.9 For this purpose. however.000 Indonesians in Mecca in the late nineteenth century.000–10. Some Indonesians earned their living as guides for countrymen who came to Mecca as pilgrims. in 1930. especially the western region (Hijaz) to perform the annual pilgrimage. and looked up to the local religious authorities with respect.2 Indonesians in Arabia were traditionally found in Saudi Arabia. too.4 Others financed their hajj by selling commercial goods in the Hijaz. as Vredenbregt7 points out: ‘Practically none of these Indonesian mukims in Mecca followed an important trade: there are a few small traders among them but they only sell to their fellowcountrymen. Accurate figures on the presence of the mukims in Mecca are hard to come by. that some returning pilgrims participated in changing the economy and social strata in the Dutch East Indies to a considerable degree. that were taken home by other pilgrims and sold for a very high price in the Dutch East Indies.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 129 Arabia.000. Some Indonesians spent months and even years in Mecca attaining knowledge in fiqh ( jurisprudence) and other religious sciences. remained dependent on their connections to the Dutch East Indies. their contributions to the development of Islamic science remain underestimated and even unrecognized. characterized by the popularity of Indonesian cuisine. A number of them. the so-called mukims. There were mukims who manufactured objects. However. and married into influential local families. Indonesians in the Hijaz led modest lives. especially Mecca and Medina in the Hijaz. such as embroidered caps. South East Asians regularly visited Arabia. the (Indonesian) Vice-Consul of the Netherlands in Mecca estimated their number at only 5. Indonesian religious scholars residing in Mecca gave themselves Arabic-sounding names. Relatives of the mukims brought money when undertaking the pilgrimage. some of them proselytized among the local population at the same time. In the1880s more than 15 per cent of all pilgrims to Mecca and Medina were from the Indonesian Archipelago. Indonesian Muslims were attracted to the centres of religious learning. remained in the holy cities after the pilgrimage to study in the famous religious schools.11 The pilgrims who stayed in Mecca created small Indonesian enclaves in the Hijaz.3 Most of them. they were therefore not recognized as Indonesians by later generations. Even long before Indonesia became an independent state. Arabs. especially to prepare the ihram (special dress for pilgrims) for their countrymen and others. while Arabs travelled to South East Asia to spread the faith and engage in commercial activities.6 But. but once they arrive here.5 and the mukims probably benefited from these trade activities. Others had small shops and worked as tailors. The Dutch East Indies have always been of particular interest for them. came as traders. Some of their . it seems that they lose their brains and behave like stupids in front of the sheykhs. however.’ It is interesting to note. According to Snouck there were about 8.
and Ihsan bin Muhammad Dahlan’s commentary on Imam Ghazali’s Minhajul Abidin was part of the postgraduate programme there. For example. Husson mentions a report on a young man who found refuge at the Consulate of the Dutch East Indies after being sold to a Javanese ‘priest’. In order to pay back the cost of the hajj journey.19 In the port cities of the Dutch East Indies Indonesian shaykhs played an important role in recruiting pilgrims. respectively. The Shaulatiyah itself had an interesting history: established by Indians in 1874. In addition.15 Indonesians came to Saudi Arabia as free men. eventually added on to the costs the pilgrim had to shoulder. Saudi Arabian and Egyptian religious institutions. Some of them had insufficient funds at the very beginning of their trip.16 They thought they could work in Saudi Arabia and pay off their debts. and were not able to pay for the first leg of the long journey by boat. at least until the l980s. of course.130 Mathias Diederich publications were held in high esteem in the Muslim world. Some Indonesians did not bring much money in the first place precisely because they were afraid of robbers. Some of them came from the mukim community in Mecca. recommendations etc. Ma‘sum Aly’s al-Amthal at-tasrifiyya was still being studied at al-Azhar in Cairo. as they cooperated with the relevant shipping lines. some of them wealthy. In 1934. it was headed by the Indian scholar Rahmatullah bin Khalil al-‘Utsmani. they were able to procure tickets for the voyage to Jeddah. shaykhs exploited the pilgrims and forced some of them gradually into slavery. comissions were to be paid – which. who took advantage of the unfavourable situation of some of their compatriots.13 These two scholars came from East Java – Jombang and Kediri.14 In addition to these scholars and small-scale merchants. but few people knew that they were non-Arabs from the Indonesian Archipelago. who had become well known for his anti-colonial discourse against the British in India. Others were robbed on the way or upon their arrival.12 Some of their scholarly works are still used in Thai. some had to work for local shaykhs. Both the Shaulatiyah and Darul Ulum have strongly shaped traditional religious learning in Indonesia. It was founded after a dispute with the ‘ulama’ in the Shaulatiyah institute.17 Even many of those slaves who had been freed could not make a living by themselves and eventually ended up in the hands of their former owners again. who would recommend their services to would-be pilgrims. These shaykhs would be in contact with a Meccan shaykh and at the same time had relationships with Indonesian religious authorities. the so-called Darul Ulum. Indonesian scholars even opened their own religious school in Mecca.18 It is worth mentioning that among the latter there were also Indonesians. there was another group of people originating from the then Dutch East Indies – pilgrims who became slaves. but some eventually became heavily indebted after their arrival. For all these different services. According to reports of the Consulate of the Dutch East Indies in Jeddah.20 . which had until then been one of the schools favoured by Indonesians in Mecca.
an organization which was founded in 1912 to protect the rights of indigenous batik merchants and to promote Islamic teaching. similar activities took place among the Indonesian students at al-Azhar University in Cairo. Pilgrims carried news about events in other parts of the world. propagating the struggle for liberty among Indonesian pilgrims. siding with the Sultan against the Dutch. that might not otherwise have reached the Dutch East Indies. He and his followers were defeated by the Dutch and Shaykh Yusuf was deported to Ceylon.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 131 Anti-colonial ideas and Dutch reactions Despite these exploitative activities. Both personal accounts and newspapers played a significant role. such as anti-colonial activities. An early prominent example is Shaykh Yusuf Makassar. Indonesians debated these matters freely. Shaykh Yusuf was involved in a power struggle within the local elite in Banten. independence from Dutch colonial rule was often a topic for discussion. They already used the Malay language. In Mecca. He was a very productive writer between 1764 and 1788 who influenced Islamic teachings in Indonesia via his Indonesian disciples. Javanese. whereby ideas about independence and colonial rule found expression in distant contexts. This in turn prompted Indonesian scholars in Mecca to react. from South Sulawesi. an organization needs to be mentioned here which played an important role in fostering self-consciousness among the Indonesian Muslims: the Sarikat Islam (Islamic Union). Another scholar who needs to be mentioned in this context is ‘Abd al-Samad al-Falimbani. A considerable number of Indonesian scholars and hajjis in Saudi Arabia turned against the rule of the Dutch in their homeland.25 ‘Abd al-Samad made it clear that he was in favour of a jihad against the Dutch. from Palembang in Sumatra. The establishment and recognition of Sarikat Islam was supported by the Javanese .22 Some Indonesians even went back and forth spreading religious and national ideas in Dutch East India. The mukims joined in large numbers. Indonesians developed a Muslim identity together with an awakening of their national identity. According to Bruinessen. The Dutch government tried to convince Indonesian Muslims not to join the organization.21 At about the same time. Sumatrans and other Indonesians met in Mecca and realized that they had a common interest. He spent several decades in Saudi Arabia and then eventually left in 1670 to settle in Banten (West Java). who studied with him during their stay in Mecca. whereas in the Dutch East Indies this was not possible. which would become the official language in independent Indonesia at a later stage.26 Woodcroft-Lee points out that returned hajjis also played a leading role in the anti-colonial wars in West Sumatra27 and Java (1825–30). An Indonesian consciousness developed among these Muslims far away from their homes in the Dutch East Indies.23 These activities were part of an early manifestation of transnationalism.24 the use of Malay was second only to Arabic in Mecca from the 1860s. Anti-colonial tendencies among the Indonesians in Mecca are well illustrated by the establishment of the Perkumpulan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (Association for the Liberation of Indonesia) in the town.28 In addition.
as their primary concern was the exploitation of natural resources in the colony.32 However.29 It is worth mentioning. discussions focused at times on opinions regarding religious rituals which differed according to the respective understandings of Islamic modernism and mysticism. His task was to find out about the possible role of Indonesian scholars and pilgrims in the anti-colonial struggle. who both resided in Mecca at that time. not only in Arabic but also in Malay. Bruinessen emphasizes that from the seventeenth century onwards Indonesian Islamic scholarship has been shaped by Indonesians who had resided in Mecca or Medina for a while. It was there that Indonesian Muslims acquired much of their knowledge of Indian Islam and the ideas of the Egyptian scholar Muhammad ‘Abduh. a Dutch scholar in the service of the Dutch East Indies government. however.’34 But the increasing spread of the modernist ideas of Muhammad ‘Abduh and his followers started to irritate the Dutch authorities even more. The latter insisted on the importance of Sarikat Islam to counter foreign. This made them ideal subjects in comparison with those not understanding their religion well. he felt that contact with the outside world would strengthen Sunni Muslim religious patterns and work against heterodoxy. added to the concerns of the Dutch and other colonial powers in the area. the Dutch did not intervene too much in religious activities or education. Initially.31 They did not necessarily always adopt ideas from local Arabs. as was mentioned earlier. In the early twentieth century. The wider distribution of print media. The Dutch were aware of the effect these grass-roots contacts in the Hijaz could have on the stability of their rule in Indonesia. Vredenbregt explains the different and sometimes inconsistent approaches of the Dutch hajj policy in detail. Instead. imposed restrictions on the hajj. and in some cases prevented Arabs and Indonesians resident in Saudi Arabia from entering the Dutch East Indies.132 Mathias Diederich Muhammad Muchtar bin Attarid (alias Natanegara) and the Minangkabau shaykh Ahmad al-Khatib. The Dutch eventually banned publications advocating the modernist ideas35 and. influence. Christian Snouck Hurgronje. that Ahmad al-Khatib30 and other Indonesian scholars in Mecca did not limit themselves to anti-colonial ideas when it came to their contributions to Islamic teaching in the Dutch East Indies. These influences have deeply marked Islam in Indonesia up to the present day.33 Federspiel interprets these early findings in the following way: ‘In his way of thinking “right thinking Muslims” were concerned with religious observance. obeyed the law and accepted conditions as determined by God. for example. was charged with studying the activities of the Indonesians in Mecca at the end of the nineteenth century. His initial assessment was that the pilgrimage would not turn all Indonesians into religious fanatics. who were subjects to other passions. The writings of Ahmad al-Khatib and Natanegara became known in Indonesia via returning pilgrims. however. It is interesting to note that the Dutch authorities started to impose restrictions on the pilgrimage to Mecca. but were rather inspired by other scholarly influences that were prominent in Mecca and Medina then. the intensification of anti-colonial discourse led to a change in policy. including Dutch. .
Such connections revolved around the pilgrimage and religious education. Saudi Arabia remained the most important destination in the Gulf region for Indonesian migrants. he feared that ‘their impressionable minds might be adversely affected by witnessing the Turks’ humiliating treatment of such previously respected foreigners as the British and the French’. Saudi citizens could still afford to hire maids and drivers for their homes even when oil prices went down in the 1980s. In addition.39 The workers are given fixed-term contracts. when Indonesia became an independent state. Nowadays. food and shelter should be provided for by the employers. the Indonesian presence in Saudi Arabia was mainly a function of religious connections. mainly low-skilled labourers. the current monthly salary for a maid is 600 Saudi riyals. Their attempts to find employment in the skilled sectors of the Saudi labour market were not successful despite substantial efforts by the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration. The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration was planning to send 2 million workers to Saudi Arabia within 5 years (1998–2003). Because of their low occupational status and low pay. Most Indonesians who went to Saudi Arabia to work found employment in private households. Estimates of the number of Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia differ tremendously. as many of them had no experience of working overseas or developed skills. most Indonesians who travelled to Saudi Arabia were economic migrants. Until the Second World War. such as maids and drivers. This situation changed slowly after the Second World War. too. Another reason that they refrained from intervention was the fact that Dutch ship owners benefited from the transportation of the pilgrims. They could speak neither English nor Arabic.36 However. challenging Dutch rule in Indonesia.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 133 One reason for these steps was a change in Snouck’s assessment of the situation. The ongoing First World War made Snouck believe that the subjects of the Dutch Indies should no longer be allowed to travel to the Hijaz: on the one hand. on the other. Migration in the post-Second World War period After the Second World War. the Dutch government did not stop Indonesian Muslims from going to Mecca altogether. such migrants have remained marginal and isolated in Saudi Arabia. . It is evident that Indonesians generally had little bargaining power in the Saudi Arabian labour market. he wanted to ‘save them from danger’. They are unable to develop any kind of group solidarity or collective action because in the majority of cases they are confined to private households. and both fostered the development of anticolonial discourse.37 The First World War and the crisis of the world economy in the 1930s caused severe economic setbacks for the Dutch East Indies. From the late 1970s onwards. The ups and downs in the pilgrimage statistics in the late colonial period38 have to be explained this way. The Dutch feared provoking even stronger anti-colonial feelings among them. According to the Jakarta Post there were more than 300.000 Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia in November 1997. with little contact with other Indonesians or the wider host society.
134 Mathias Diederich Indonesian maids were considered suitable for work in the private sphere because they were Muslims. This is attributed to their work as maids. Local debate on foreign labour in Saudi Arabia is usually heated. Indonesian women are rarely able to contact the police or the Indonesian Consulate when problems arise. their position is extremely weak. this does not seem to lead to better wages or social integration. as the agencies responsible for the sending of the TKW are not able or willing to improve their pre-departure training despite numerous efforts by the Indonesian government. In contrast to much of the contact between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia before the Second World War. The preparation and placement of female Indonesian workers overseas is indeed a typical case of how rampant corruption has influenced the political decisions taken by Indonesian governments since the 1970s. The temptation for underpaid civil servants to gain additional income through bribery is extremely high. Indonesian drivers were also hired by Saudi Arabians. Lack of appropriate pre-departure training for their jobs overseas has also harmed the reputation of the Indonesian nation in general. Their poor standing is mainly caused by traces of Javanese feudalism in Indonesian society. This image is still perpetuated. but is rarely focused on Indonesians. In West and Central Java household helpers are expected to be obedient to their employers . as the Saudi Arabian police and Indonesian diplomats are not always willing or able to intervene on their behalf. The isolation of Indonesian maids in Saudi Arabian households prevents the development of transnational activities.43 The exploitation of the TKW is also linked to public perception of the kind of work they are supposed to do overseas. As most of the applicants for overseas jobs are poorly educated. as their number is limited compared to other foreigners. Indonesian overseas workers (the most frequent Indonesian abbreviation for the migrant workers in the Middle East is TKW – tenaga kerja wanita. It is ironic that common religious bonds fail to have an impact on the status of female domestic workers. As most of them are not allowed to go out on their own. In general. Housemaids have a low status in Indonesia itself. Indonesians have a lower status than many other nationals working in Saudi Arabia. Throughout the last two decades at least 75 per cent of the Indonesian migrants in Saudi Arabia have been female. many Indonesian maids encountering problems with their employers feel powerless. Saudi Arabians are often unhappy with Indonesians’ lack of language skills and their unfamiliarity with modern household equipment. As a result. slow and poorly educated.40 Given their lack of language skills and the generally poor pre-departure training. female migrant workers exceeded the number of male migrants. and are insufficiently protected by national law. ‘female workforce’) are considered inflexible. In Saudi Arabia. middlemen and corrupt civil servants.42 unaware of their rights and very eager to migrate. but in smaller numbers than maids. any form of transnationalism is rather restricted for Indonesians in Saudi Arabia today. Although Indonesian maids are valued for being Muslims.41 If they do succeed they may not receive help. they easily fall victim to unscrupulous agencies. let alone to organize in labour unions.
as they then become illegal immigrants. the agencies and the civil servants are confronted with an opaque system of rules and regulations which is constantly amended. The TKW candidates. overstay in order to perform the pilgrimage before returning to Indonesia. as it wants to ensure continued access to the Holy Places for Indonesian pilgrims. and encouraged Indonesian women to take over these vacancies. seized the opportunity. her son or brother. But the actual decision to allow the sending of female workers as domestic helpers to Saudi Arabia is Jakarta’s responsibility. Indonesia has not wanted to put too much pressure on Saudi Arabia. These steps were taken despite the desperate need in these countries for foreign currency earned by their cititzens abroad. such as Bangladesh and India. and were entitled to retirement in the house of their employers rather than higher remuneration. It is obvious that poor pre-departure training and the low status of maids in Indonesia cannot be blamed on the Indonesian government alone.44 As in Saudi Arabia. making the TKW even more vulnerable to abuse. and they are obviously not motivated to end the programme. or change employers without being given official permission. Struggling for a share in the Saudi Arabian labour market Reports on abuse of maids in Saudi Arabian households were so frequent in the 1970s and 1980s that the governments of several Asian countries. Some of its highest representatives have benefited personally through direct involvement in the TKW industry. stopped sending maids altogether or restricted their migration. The Indonesian government. Many Muslims in Saudi Arabia are of the opinion that a female Muslim should not travel unless she is accompanied by her husband or a mahram. Countries such as Bangladesh and India protected their workers. wages are traditionally very low due to the fact that maids used to be considered part of the family. while Indonesia turned a blind eye to the risks its citizens were facing for the sake of gaining a share in the Saudi labour market. rape. however. This behaviour is resented in Saudi Arabia. The Indonesian government continues to lack the necessary commitment to protect its workers abroad.45 This attitude has not improved the reputation of Indonesian citizens in Saudi Arabia. The Indonesian Embassy and Consulate were understaffed. Some ignore the regulations. cases of unexplained deaths and the disappearance of Indonesian citizens in Saudi Arabia have not been followed up by the relevant government agencies.46 a close male relative who is not allowed to marry her – for example.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 135 and not supposed to question them in any way. The TKW themselves are also often responsible for their plight. Ill-treatment. This reflected their poor bargaining position: Indonesians had to take what was left behind by others. and documentation on the whereabouts of the TKW was incomplete. The Saudi Arabian public was surprised to find out that so many women who were supposed to be Muslims worked in Saudi Arabia without any appropriate male .
third or fourth wives. TKW do not feel part of society. and are often forced to find jobs in the sex industry. is emphasized and reiterated by the Saudi Arabian government for the sake of its self-legitimization. On the one hand. Most TKW arrive in Saudi Arabia already frightened and nervous. and it is considered inappropriate for employers to marry housemaids – even as second. including Indonesia. some Indonesians do try to stay on in order to improve their economic prospects in Indonesia. Indonesian maids were not necessarily perceived as good fellow Muslims by their hosts. they are not necessarily seen as fellow Muslims of equal standing. and are obviously sometimes perceived as. in itself a reflection of transnational bonds. Islamic unity is also identified by the Saudi government as the driving force to promote Islam all over the world. Intermarriage between Saudi Arabians and Indonesians is rare. which is itself illegal. For Indonesians. They rarely succeed. Nevertheless. Many Indonesians see Saudi Arabia as a place to earn money for themselves and their families at home. but on the other hand. Islam cannot bridge this gap.47 The only contact most TKW have in the host country is with the family they are living with. Their situation is somehow paradoxical: they live inside the very protected homes of Saudi Arabians – they might not even be allowed to go out – but at the same time they feel. In their view. as they only participate in its activities as servants.136 Mathias Diederich company. The host society’s relationship with TKW and pilgrims Limited interaction with the host society is one reason why Indonesians often feel insecure in Saudi Arabia. This perception is particularly striking as the discourse on Islamic unity. however. Mostly. Saudi Arabia is the country of the Holy Places of Islam. Most TKW wish to perform the hajj or ‘umrah during their stay in Saudi Arabia. TKW usually receive two-year contracts. making relationships with the locals difficult. In reality. Although they experience life within Saudi households. these attempts drive them into illegality and are not likely to improve their chances of integrating into the host society. as immigration laws are very strict and few foreigners are given the chance to stay on. Indonesians are more welcome than other foreigners because they are Muslims. Saudi Arabian society does not grant equal status to Muslims from other parts of the world. which adds to the bitter feeling many TKW have towards the host society. complete outsiders. Instead. Difference in culture also leads to misunderstandings between TKW and the host society. Indonesians who choose this way to stay on therefore find themselves in the lowest stratum of Saudi Arabian society. The host country is not a place to settle down. however. Consequently. they have to hide. both the Indonesian government and public failed in several respects. Their insecurity is also related to the frequent reports of abuse within Saudi households. . as they fulfilled neither their moral nor religious obligations towards women. The host society seems reluctant to integrate them.
It is partly due to their efforts that in 1998 the government of President Soeharto eventually came to an end. highlighted in the rhetoric of the Saudi Arabian government as the all-encompassing international ideal of the Muslim world. some pilgrims portray Saudi Arabia as a nation that enslaves foreign workers regardless of their religion. They have to cope not only with Indonesian bureaucracy and corruption but also with the interests of the agencies and middlemen. it is almost impossible for them to support the protection of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.48 The limited exchanges between the pilgrims in Saudi Arabia tends to reinforce the image of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia as TKW. the symbol of the unity of the entire Muslim world. Given the high price they pay for the performance of the hajj and the prestige they expect to gain from it. However. I conclude that the Indonesian pilgrims in question feel a deep frustration while in Saudi Arabia: they suddenly become aware of the general poor standing of Indonesians there. The notion of the ummah. many Indonesians are mesmerized by the religious image of Saudi Arabia. In the field of labour migration. Efforts of NGOs in the field of labour migration Indonesian NGOs have contributed substantially to the democratization of Indonesia.50 One of the NGOs.49 The experiences of these more influential Indonesian pilgrims may have contributed to another image of Saudi Arabia in Indonesia: feeling insulted by their fellow Muslims. is also deeply rooted among Indonesian Muslims. the pilgrims also suffer because of it. Ignas Bethan found out that even well-to-do Indonesian pilgrims were mistaken for TKW by the locals – much to their disappointment. The effects of this are felt not only by the TKW during their stay in Saudi Arabia. the peak of their religious lives. Analysing Bethan’s observation more closely. In addition. Some Indonesians opt for special packages when they go on the pilgrimage: instead of sharing the hardships of the hajj with fellow Muslims from all over the world they stay with their travel groups in fivestar hotels and air-conditioned tents during their hajj before they go on shopping sprees in Saudi Arabia or other countries in the region.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 137 In general. this experience must be even more galling. and this happens when they are performing the hajj. as they have no counterparts in that country on whom they can call. the aforementioned irritations and lack of integration into the host society are not likely to give this rhetoric much credibility. As direct contacts with representatives of the Saudi Arabian government are hard to establish. the Centre for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW). It is the reputation of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia as a ‘coolie nation’ or ‘TKW nation’. NGOs have had a difficult task. however. To make matters worse. these contradictions emerge during the hajj. NGOs and labour unions are almost unknown in Saudi Arabia. developed various activities to compensate for these shortcomings. But there is another trend that may estrange the two nations. The strong renaissance of Islam in Indonesia will contribute even more to this. Indonesian Muslims resent the illtreatment of their fellow citizens by Saudi Arabians – especially when they are exposed to it personally. .
Their lack of international experience makes them dependent on whatever employment is available. Baharuddin Lopa. After transferring to . (The number of male migrants in organized labour migration from Indonesia to the Middle East has always been very small. In addition. the former Attorney General and Secretary General of the National Human Rights Commission. for example. Finally. especially in times of nationwide economic hardship.52 In addition. Many of the candidates decide to migrate because they have virtually no other choice.) In the case of Indonesian women going overseas. They were in a weak position from the start. thus adding to the feeling of national shame and endangering the privileges of the well-to-do at the same time. it recently managed to gain support from strong international NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. the TKWs cannot count on any kind of female solidarity either – except for activists within NGOs. It has been argued that pauperization of migration usually goes hand in hand with its feminization. Indonesian NGOs complain that.53 Even the critical and sometimes meticulous coverage in the press does not provoke a reaction from the government. Extreme poverty in rural areas makes them susceptible to all kinds of promises by middlemen who offer their services in the area.138 Mathias Diederich the CIMW tried to lobby with the help of representatives of the Indonesian government. Apart from the problems in Saudi Arabia. It is not surprising that it is mostly NGOs run by women and for the interests of women that advocate the cause of the TKW. As international labour migration is organized mainly by men. NGOs are easily perceived as nitpickers. Many Indonesians identify with the TKW and feel that their national pride is hurt. As their educational background and family situation usually do not enable them to make a living in Indonesia. after Soeharto stepped down in 1998. the CIMW is affiliated to the Hong Kong-based Asian Migrant Centre. it is extremely difficult for the NGOs to work with the TKW themselves. who have only limited influence. the newly gained freedom of the press has not changed public interest. so they tend to accept poor conditions in order to survive and support their families. which maintains good relations with various Saudi authorities. another difficulty is the lack of support within Indonesian society. However. we can establish that they were the frontrunners in labour migration on a larger scale to the Middle East. strongly supported the cause of the TKW before he died in 2001. as they emphasize the weakness of the TKW and lash out at the class differences in Indonesia. and there has been very little support for them ever since. On the international level various activities are to be mentioned: along with similar organizations in Asia. so many problems needed to be discussed in Indonesia that the situation of the TKW was marginalized.51 The CIMW also approached the powerful Indonesian mass organization Nahdlatul Ulama. from Malaysia and Bangladesh. Agencies operating in the field of labour migration take advantage of their economic situation and unfavourable educational background: the applicants are often unable to question either the procedures or the high fees they are charged. they start looking for other opportunities overseas.
Labour migration from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia has affected bilateral relations to a certain degree. Strong advocacy by the Indonesian government on behalf of the TKW would put the interests of the pilgrims at risk. During this period desperate women are not willing to listen to warnings of NGO representatives. and even when they return to their home country.55 In addition. and are prepared to accept poor working conditions and high fees just to ensure employment overseas. they still lack satisfactory legal protection: the drafting of a separate law on labour migration failed despite intensive NGO lobbying.56 Comparing the situation of the pilgrims before the Second World War with that of the TKW shows that we have come full circle. but there can be no doubt about the low priority of this matter compared to the hajj.54 The fact that ministers and senior officials in the Indonesian Department of Manpower and Transmigration have been replaced frequently in recent years exacerbates the situation. illustrates the system of clientelism which bears so heavily on Indonesian society. The Soeharto government took the first steps in this direction in the early 1990s.58 with an all-powerful religious status and an important social position. Like the pilgrims.’59 The impact on bilateral relations and future development The hajj is of great importance to the middle and upper classes of Indonesian society. The process of labour migration is organized by others. religious authorities play an important role in this context: ‘Dependence on intermediairies.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 139 Jakarta and other cities the TKW candidates are trapped. often kiyai 57 or hajj. Well-to-do Indonesian Muslims are eager to go on the pilgrimage. Recently Indonesia has experienced an obvious Islamization of public life. NGOs provide manuals for predeparture training and even basic language courses. and become completely dependent on others. and therefore their government has to make sure that it remains on good terms with the Saudi Arabian government. They are so eager to depart that even useful advice for their overseas posting is likely to fall on deaf ears. the TKW depend on middlemen in both Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. There is a growing sense of transnational solidarity between the educated Indonesian Muslims and the rest of the Islamic world. According to Husson. including protection for housemaids in Indonesia itself. who deliberately make it complicated. Middlemen. But all these efforts cannot bring about much if there is little support abroad and if the TKW are not addressed by qualified staff during the preparation period. It seems that Islamization of the local culture is also understood as Arabization. civil servants and employers decide their fate and destination. while the existing labour law leaves much to be desired. They cannot even afford the bus fare back to their villages. The hardships of . as the Saudi Arabian government might react by restricting the flow of Indonesian pilgrims to Mecca. TKW are frequently exploited both before and after departure. Arabic music and dress are in fashion. Arabs in general are more and more admired. Once they leave their home towns they lose whatever bargaining power they had.
Azyumardi pointed out. and would instead provoke Indonesian citizens into joining the ranks of the radical Muslim groups in the country. According to the noted Indonesian scholar Azyumardi Azra. such as the Muhammadiyah and the Nahdlatul Ulama need to respond by identifying alternative programmes. where he is often seen as a courageous man – especially among the youth. The Saudi Arabian government may have withdrawn Osama bin Laden’s passport. But the events of 11 September also encouraged criticism of the present government in Indonesia: the economic situation has deteriorated since 1998. such as Laskar Jihad (‘Jihad Troops’) and the Front Pembela Isla (‘Front of the Defenders of Islam’). Islamic mass organizations in Indonesia.63 These controversial views on the West and the Middle East will certainly influence public opinion in Indonesia in the future and may even play a role in the upcoming national elections in 2004. Indonesians of Arab descent see it as their task to purify Islam in Indonesia as it has been influenced by elements of indigenous religions. because their image will be continuously dominated by the presence of the TKW. are said to have adopted radical ideas during their studies. consequently. are led by Indonesians of Arab descent. but this is not widely known in Indonesia. Other Indonesians harshly criticize the influence of Arabs in Indonesia by pointing out that local radical Islamist groups. and expectations of democracy have waned. but holds true for the Middle East itself. some of them prominent figures in political parties. This situation is perceived as being deeply humiliating by many citizens and. The standing of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia is not likely to improve. Nevertheless. radical tendencies among the youth exist. The Indonesian state is seen as corrupt and entirely dependent on the West and therefore unable to solve the problems of the nation.62 The leader of one of these mass organizations. and Indonesian migrants will remain marginal on the agenda of both government and public opinion.60 Numerous students of Islamic boarding schools hang bin Laden’s pictures on their walls and adopt his ideas about hypocrisy and moral decadence in the USA and the West in general. however. showed his concern before the USA and its allies were about to invade Iraq in 2003. frictions within Indonesian society are apparent. He indicated that this sort of military intervention was likely to undermine the authority of those Indonesian Muslims who were peace loving. these events have helped to improve the standing of the Arabs. It is also stated that the leaders of the groups are appointed by decision makers in the Middle East.140 Mathias Diederich migrants and the negative experiences of Indonesian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are likely to become less important. Indonesians are likely to be attracted by this sort of quest for an authentic form of Islam and therefore. For some Indonesians. The hajj is becoming more popular than ever. according to Azyumardi. is not a specifically Indonesian phenomenon. With the events of 11 September 2001 and the Bali bombing in 2002.61 This sort of religious transnationalism is obviously considered highly suspicious. Certain Indonesian alumni of Saudi Arabian universities. . This. Ahmad Syafi Maarif of Muhammadiyah.
‘Mempertaruhkan jiwa dan harta jemaah haji dari Hindia Belanda pada abad ke-19’. who quotes at length from Djajadiningrat’s Herinneringen von Pangeran Aria Achmad Djajadiningrat (Amsterdam-Batavia: Kolff.. 7 Vredenbregt. The bargaining position of the TKW is not likely to improve either. Seri INIS 30 ( Jakarta: INIS. undermining the situation of the TKW even more. 134. 74. p. The United Nations appointed a working group of experts to identify obstacles to the effective implementation of human rights in 1997 and a special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in 1999. Bijdragen tot de Taal-. 5 Ibid. as the Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990. Trade and Islam in Southeast Asia (Leiden: KITLV Press. ‘The Hadjj’. the elimination of trafficking is unlikely to be achieved through legislation and declaration of intent. Mekka in the Latter Part of the Nineteenth Century: Daily Life. the improvement of the socio-economic status of the population. p. However desirable. Customs and Learning – The Moslems of the East Indian Archipelago (Leiden and London: Brill and Luzac & Co.64 The Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families came into force in 2003. which will probably last for some time. although Indonesia only became independent in 1945. In the late 1980s and 1990s the international community began to show growing concern about migrant workers and their obvious vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. pp. in Dick Douwes and Nico Kaptein (eds). 1931).. Snouck Hurgronje. 238 ff. ‘The Hadjj – Some of its Features and Functions in Indonesia’. Vredenbregt. Rather. unemployment among the younger generation is increasing. De Jonge and N. 222. 2002). which is exacerbated by long working hours. In addition. at p. ‘The Haddj’. The effect of this. Land. 3 J.65 Notes 1 In this chapter I will refer to people from the former Dutch East Indies generally as ‘Indonesian’. It appears that domestic workers are most vulnerable because of their isolation. Indonesian job-seekers will continue to be interested in any job in any country overseas. on the other hand. 1997). and is therefore unlikely to take a stronger interest in the TKW or to advocate their cause. particularly through the education of girls. 114–15. pp. 134 n. p. In Saudi Arabia.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 141 The Indonesian middle class is ashamed of the TKW’s image abroad. however. 9 See Vredenbregt. translation from the Indonesian text by the author of this article. 6 C. 2 H.en Volkenkunde 118 (1962): 91–154. neither Saudi Arabia nor Indonesia is among those 20 countries. 8 In a letter to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 25 November 1886. p. Witlox. 137. 4 Ibid. should not be overestimated. p. This may lead to stricter immigration policies and more undocumented migration in the long run. Kaptein. quoted in M.. Indonesia dan Haji. . but it took 13 years for 20 countries to ratify it. Transcending Borders: Arabs. 1936). Politics. due to the poor economic situation in Indonesia. 134 n. poor remuneration and lack of access to social security. is the best way of reducing it.
. Azyumardi Azra. 12 Abdurrahman Wahid. 118. The Modernist Muslim Movement in Indonesia 1900–1942 (Singapore. e. 18. ‘The Haddj’. 17 Husson. 20 Vredenbregt. The so-called Paderi war in West Sumatra (1821–34) was at its beginning a power struggle between Wahhabi-inspired reformists and the local elite. London and New York: Oxford University Press. 1973). 15 Husson. ‘Sedikit yang diketahui’. p. 20 April 1985. Abaza. pp. 23 Deliar Noer. 11 Vredenbregt. 22 M. 14 M. 2001). Indonesian Students in Cairo: Islamic Education Perceptions and Exchanges (Paris: Archipel.. Tempo. ‘From Morocco to Merauke’. H. p. ‘The Hadjj’. Islam in Asia. Brill. 22–26 September 2002) found out that even the officials of the Ottoman empire residing in what is today Saudi Arabia had slaves themselves. The only restriction imposed on it was that trade was no longer allowed in public places. ‘Worship and Work’. ‘The Haddj’.g. 118. 122. 30 July 1997. Archipel 29 (1985): 35–52. I assume. 1995). Oxford. however. 134. 70. 136. 13 Abdurrahman Wahid. p. Federspiel. 31 Bruinessen. van Bruinessen. 26 Azyumardi Azra. 117. 27) and Shaykh Muhammad Djamil Djambek (Deliar Noer. The Modernist Muslim Movement. Studia Islamica 2/2 (1995): 1–33 at p. paper presented at the Institute of Islamic Studies. Islam and Ideology in the Emerging Indonesian State: The Persatuan Islam (PERSIS) 1923–1957 (Leiden: E. ‘Networks of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian Ulama in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’. 42. pp. islam en Indonésie I’. p. L’horizon insulindien et son importance pour une compréhension globale de l’islam. Johns and Raphael Israeli (eds). 121–33. 119. in A. 117) mentions that according to one report Sumatrans and Bugis shaykhs were singled out as being particularly unscrupulous. p. 24 M. By the second decade of the twentieth century Indonesians had started to prefer al-Azhar to Saudi Arabian institutions of higher education. 121. Bruinessen. ‘Worship and Work’. in Douwes and Kaptein (eds). 48. Husson (ibid. ‘Mencari ilmu dan pahala di tanah suci’. 27 Carlien Woodcroft-Lee. 35–6. ‘The Haddj’. ‘Hadhrami Scholars in the Malay–Indonesian Diaspora: A Preliminary Study of Sayyid ‘Uthman’. points out that the Hijaz was the only area controlled by the Ottoman empire which was allowed to continue with the slave-trade throughout the empire’s existence. Kuala Lumpur. pp. St John’s College. 131–3. 1994). p. The Modernist Muslim Movement. Their cause was reinforced by the notion of jihad because the Dutch were identified as infidels. p. ‘The Haddj’. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections within the Arab Gulf and Beyond.142 Mathias Diederich 10 Denys Lombard. ‘Worship and Work’. 25 Bruinessen. at p. at p. 31–7). 28 Vredenbregt. ‘Mencari ilmu dan pahala di tanah suci: Orang Nusantara naik haji’. pp. Ahmad Taher (Howard M. that banning the trade in public places must have been detrimental to the interests of the slaves. Kitab kuning. Indonesia dan Haji. but had to be conducted inside private houses. Anscombe (‘An A-National Society: Eastern Arabia in the Ottoman Period’. vol. As the Dutch sided with the latter group the reformists took up the challenge. pp. as there was no more official control of the trade. J. 186. Husson. p. ‘Sedikit yang diketahui’. Hadji Rasul. Kitab kuning: Pesantren dan tarekat (Bandung: Mizan. pp. p. 18 Ibid. II ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press. . University of the Philippines (Diliman). 66–70. p. 30 Ahmad al-Khatib’s activities can be traced back to the late nineteenth century. 61–4. He strongly influenced Indonesian Islam through his disciples. 21 Vredenbregt. 1984). p. van Bruinessen. p. 19 Ibid. 127. p. 67–114. Kitab kuning. 29 Deliar Noer. 16 Vredenbregt. Asian Centre. 124. at p.
van Bruinessen. I. p.or. Ibid. agencies and middlemen cooperate in an unlawful way. It must be admitted that the large number of pilgrims who come to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj every year has definitely changed the character of the pilgrimage: It has to be organized in a different way nowadays. Saudi Arabian participants stated that Indonesian support for the Palestinian cause was a precondition for any advocacy for the cause of the TKW in Saudi Arabia (interview.. Bruinessen. Perjalanan nasib TKI–TKW: Antara rantai kemiskinan dan nasib perempuan ( Jakarta: Gramedia. have repeatedly asked the government to send only better-educated women abroad. whereas the educational background of TKW from other areas in Indonesia varies considerably. 26. Federspiel. Indonesia is composed of a large number of islands. Krastawan.000 for 1999–June 2001. M. A. When it does come to exchanging ideas on the treatment of TKW in Saudi Arabia the Saudi Arabian side usually attaches conditions to any discussions on the subject. Bethan. M. in 2001. then TKW are hardly able to defend their rights. Maruli Tobing. But of course prospective employers do not take the historical background into account when comparing the language skills of Indonesians to those of Filipinos. p. In other countries Indonesian migrant workers have more freedom. most of the TKW going overseas are actually Javanese. This plan apparently came to nothing. ‘Mencari ilmu dan pahala di tanah suci’. According to recent statistics published on the website of the department (www. they established a labour union which had 700 members in 2001. It goes without saying that restricting labour migration in this way is not an appropriate solution because the citizens interested in migration will most probably not find an adequate job on the domestic labour market.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 143 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 Vredenbregt. and contact between pilgrims of different nationalities is therefore more limited than it used to be. Ibid. TKW from West Java are usually not well educated. In addition. for example. Aside from Saudi Arabia the United Arab Emirates is an increasingly popular destination for Indonesian migrants. In Hong Kong. If government officials. visited 20 May 2003) the number of migrants sent to the whole of the Middle East was a little more than 334. Dewabrata and W. at p.depnaker. South Africa. Indonesian NGOs. but Java and the Javanese have a dominant position in many respects. 129. ‘Muslims of the Dutch East Indies and the Caliphate Question’. 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 . Indonesians do not generally speak English as well as other Asians. such as Solidaritas Perempuan. Hartiningsih. Islam and Ideology. pp. making him an ideal advocate for the cause of the TKW. 1993). 123. Consequently. they might try to leave without the necessary administrative procedures. the TKW issue was raised during the World Conference against Racism in Durban. and risk encountering even more difficulties overseas due to their resulting weak legal position. TKW di Timur Tengah ( Jakarta: Grafikatama Jaya.id. ‘The Haddj’. appendix. 105. 1990). but almost all migrants who go to the Middle East go to Saudi Arabia. 30 May 2003). 9. In response. M. See Vredenbregt. It is possible that the ceaseless activities of Indonesian pressure groups have contributed to a change in the sending policy of the Indonesian government. Because of their colonial history. Indians etc. 98–9. According to a representative of the CIMW. ‘The Haddj’. Studia Islamica 2/3 (1995): 115–41. p. p. Baharudin Lopa had also served as Minister of Justice and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. In Indonesia also frequently called muhrim.
at p.com. in the West Javanese town of Sukabumi.com/pipermail. St John’s College.html. paper presented at the International Workshop on Labour Migration and Socio-Economic Change in South East and East Asia. 14–16 May 2001. has even been threatened by a fatwah calling for his death. Skeldon. Abella. in Cohen (ed. Paris: Archipel. 56 Recently the Department of Foreign Affairs has seemed to show greater concern than the Department of Manpower and Transmigration when it comes to the TKW: it even institutionalized a directorate responsible for the protection of Indonesian citizens abroad. University of Lund. Cahier d’archipel 23. T-shirts with the slogan ‘Saddam Hussein – Lion of the Gulf ’ were sold in Indonesia. accessed 6 November 2003. Abdurrahman Wahid ‘Sedikit yang diketahui’. . 1994. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections within the Arab Gulf and Beyond. 53 M. Sweden.nasional-f/2002-October/000075. Tempo. 62 See http://www. 20 April 1985. 64 H. International Migration 38/3 (2000): 7–30. 60 During the second Gulf War. The discussion on the so-called Islam liberal (liberal Islam) in Indonesia shows this very clearly: one of its protagonists. ‘Protection of Migrants’ Human Rights: Principles and Practice’. not the pilgrimage.com or krikil@yahoogroups. Mattila. M. at p. 61 He-Man.). Palestinian intifada fighters and suicide bombers are also seen as heroes by some Indonesians. but for some they have also shown that Arabs are even capable of challenging the USA. The events of 11 September 2001 shocked most Indonesians. M. It started sending postgraduate students of Islamic studies to Western universities. In the 1980s. pp.polarhome. International Migration 38/6 (2000): 53–67. ‘Asian Migrant and Contract Workers in the Middle East’.144 Mathias Diederich 52 Some women do have influential positions in the recruitment of migrants. The Cambridge Survey of World Migration. 418–23. S. 192–5. Indonesische Arbeitsmigration nach Saudi-Arabien: Hintergründe und Darstellung in der indonesischen Presse (Bonn: Holos. 14–16 May 2001. 22. the Indonesian government was concerned about a perceived radicalization among students after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. for example. Bibliography Abaza. Indonesian Students in Cairo: Islamic Education Perceptions and Exchanges. 59 Husson. 17 October 2002.’ paper presented at the International Workshop on Labour Migration and Socio-Economic Change in South East and East Asia. Sweden. Diederich. ‘The Politics of Regulating Overseas Migrant Labour in Indonesia. 58 Husson is referring to the person (title) in this case. thus to some extent imitating the ‘anti-radicalization’ policy of the Dutch East Indies described in the first part of this chapter. 60. see krikil-owner@yahoo-groups. 55 For details see Riwanto Tirtosudarmo. ‘WNI keturunan Arab dan Islam radikal di Indonesia’. 132. F. pp. when Iraq had occupied Kuwait. p. Ulil Abshar Abdallah. Diederich. At the time of the writing the effect of this step could not yet be assessed. ‘Trafficking: A Perspective from Asia’. 63 The atmosphere between the different factions is tense indeed. 54 M. 57 Heads of religious boarding schools. Oxford. University of Lund. a representative of the Nahdatul Ulama. ‘More Room to Move but More Desperate Migrants than Ever: The Public Discourse and the Situation of NGOs in the Field of Labour Migration Three Years after Soeharto’s Resignation’. but it seems that they also focus on their own benefit rather than the interests of the TKW. 1995). ‘An A-National Society: Eastern Arabia in the Ottoman Period’. 22–26 September 2002. ‘Worship and Work’. 65 R. Anscombe. especially in Java. I.
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‘The Politics of Regulating Overseas Migrant Labour in Indonesia’. M. Vredenbregt. M. Lloyd and L. 1997. 14–16 May 2001. pp. M. pp. Jakarta: Gramedia. 297. S. Kaptein (eds). 1997. 40. J. 1985. C.. Saudi Arabia: The Ceaseless Quest for Security. M. 32–48. Panji Masyarakat. 1992. 1990. Safran. Douwes and N. L. vol. Indonesia di Timur Tengah Masalah dan prospek. A. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag. International Migration 38/3 (2000): 7–30. H. Sweden. R. 1984. 1931. Jakarta: Gema Insani Press. Tobing. paper presented at the International Workshop on Labour Migration and Socio-Economic Change in South East and East Asia. Islamkundliche Untersuchungen 163. and Williams. Land. University of Lund.. in P. in D. ‘al-Tahaddur wa l hijra al-ummaliya fi l-aqtar al-arabiya al-khilajiya’. H. Seri INIS 30. Hartiningsih. 15 June 1980. Jerusalem: Magnes Press. N. Riwanto Tirtosudarmo. (eds). Customs and Learning – The Moslems of the East Indian Archipelago. Cambridge. International Trade and Migration in the APEC Region. Antara rantai kemiskinan dan nasib perempuan.. Johns and R. Die Frau in Saudi-Arabien zwischen Moderne und Tradition. Riza Sihbudi. Israeli (eds). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Dewabrata. S. Mekka in the Latter Part of the Nineteenth Century: Daily Life. ‘Migration Intensification in the APEC Region: 1981 to 1994’. Skeldon. Rod. 67–114. II. ‘The Haddj – Some of its Features and Functions in Indonesia’. Indonesia dan Haji. J.en Volkenkunde 118 (1962): 91–154. A. 65–77. p.146 Mathias Diederich Muawwad. ‘From Morocco to Merauke’. in A. T. C. Dirasat al khalij wa l-jazair al-arabiya 13 ( July 1987): 51. Witlox. ‘Oleh-oleh dari Arab Saudi’. Jakarta: INIS. Islam in Asia. and Krastawan. Leiden and London: Brill and Luzac & Co. ‘Mempertaruhkan jiwa dan harta jemaah haji dari Hindia Belanda pada abad ke-19’. Snouck Hurgronje. pp. J. 1996. Bijdragen tot de Taal-. Woodcroft-Lee. Perjalanan nasib TKITKW. Rosihan Anwar. Vagt. ‘Trafficking: A Perspective from Asia’. W. MA and London: Harvard University Press. Williams. .
Part III Beyond the Arab Gulf .
Through personal choices. Immigrants are seen as representations of ‘cultural hybridity. a French journalist investigated ‘terrorist networks’ in the heart of what he called ‘Londonistan’. economic activities and cultural orientation. Underlying understandings of transnationalism is the assumption that ‘diaspora’. making transnationalism conceptually dependent on the above categories fails to account for variants of the process because such an approach is built on the assumption that transnationalism is ‘something to celebrate. multi-positional identities. voluntary and under no serious control by governments – for example.5 However. both Arab and Asian. This chapter investigates Saudi religious flows in the British capital in an attempt to understand religious transnationalism as a complex process. ‘immigrants’.3 Moving away from the images conjured up by the association of the British capital with ‘Londonistan’. Islamic religious exchanges were spontaneous. who are depicted as ‘conscious and successful ordinary people’. Islamic centres and a series of interviews with a cross-section of the British Muslim population.2 In this discourse.7 Saudi religious transnationalism in London Madawi Al-Rasheed Writing in a prominent French daily newspaper a year after 11 September 2001.7 For centuries. the problem of current terrorism is believed to result from religious flows between countries such as Saudi Arabia and British Muslims. which does not lend itself to straightforward cause-and-effect analysis. and operate on the margins of defined political entities such as the nation-state. ‘middlemen’. a journey which led to mosques. resisting state influence from below. as an expression of a subversive popular resistance from below. I examine Saudi–British religious connections with the objective of highlighting the unanticipated consequences of such flows.4 Immigrants are often defined as those who cross physical and moral boundaries. the ancient Sufi networks .1 London is increasingly portrayed in American. British and European media as one of those sites where Islamic radicalism is bred. ‘creoles’. ‘brokers’ and ‘hybrids’ are indispensable categories.’6 Those who overemphasize the free-floating hybrid in transnational processes are usually driven by what has often been described as ‘fetishization of hybridity’ in their quest for a world free of the constraints imposed by states. border-crossing by marginal “others” ’. they are believed to challenge established boundaries. thanks to a liberal British tradition and transnational Muslim connections.
they implement programmes. they are used by the state to extend its political authority among Muslims as far as London. Saudi Arabia draws on the services of others. religion is now considered a transnational force. Drawing on Saudi religious transnational connections with British Muslims. both encourage a commitment to reach Muslims outside the territories of the nation-state. mainly Arab and Asian Muslims. support Muslim minorities and encourage the dissemination of Islamic knowledge. thanks to its wealth. and the dissemination of religious education – are understood as fulfilling da ‘wah (propagation of faith) and charity (both the obligatory zakat and the voluntary sadaqah). to establish direct relations with British Muslims. Their personal religious agenda is appropriated by the state in the pursuit of political legitimacy at home and abroad. While those who propagate faith are driven by an Islamic obligation towards other Muslims. The small number of Saudi ‘hybrids’ and ‘creoles’ remain nationals. But the Saudi case demonstrates that they can actually promote state interests abroad. Rather than representing a challenge to the state.8 Islam incorporates a quest to spread its mission and an obligation towards co-believers. It entails the transfer of funds and religious knowledge from Saudi Arabia to Muslims in other countries. it is argued that such activities are not necessarily dependent on the presence of an overseas Saudi diaspora. one finds that they are incorporated into the state legitimacy narrative. cultural and religious transnationalism. Local discourse on religious transnationalism The Saudi leadership has pledged to promote Islam. Their activities consolidate official policy abroad and contribute to enhancing state legitimacy inside the country. This is considered a religious duty. religious exchanges have become a systematic operation with substantial funds dedicated to their realization. Recently. they are sanctioned from above. the establishment of mosques. confirming state hegemony beyond its own frontiers. which is much more limited in its boundaries than the Muslim ummah (community). For a long time a neglected dimension in transnational studies. These Islamic obligations are the framework within which Saudi religious connections .150 Madawi Al-Rasheed which spread across the Muslim world. Outreach programmes targeting Muslims abroad – for example. Theorists of transnationalism have concentrated on free-floating cosmopolitans whose activities fall within a niche beyond state control. Saudi Arabia has taken the responsibility to propagate faith more seriously than have other Muslim governments. its quest for legitimacy and its symbolic significance as the land of Islam and its holy shrines. This is precisely what distinguishes Saudi hybrids from others in the same category. The overseas activities of the majority of Saudis are usually sanctioned by the state. If they ever exist in large numbers. Muslim colleges and organizations. Saudi religious transnationalism involves the establishment of connections with Muslims using institutions under state sponsorship and agents who are not necessarily Saudi nationals. Rather than challenging the state from below. temporarily residing abroad to serve the purpose of promoting official Saudi economic.
11 While religious transnationalism is a response to local Saudi concerns. who are believed to face daily challenges to their identity. an exchange of people between those Muslim minorities and the Muslim societies in order to activate them and help them in all their affairs.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 151 are represented in local discourse.10 The responsibility of such an exchange lies with political leaders and religious scholars: The rulers of the Muslims everywhere as well as the scholars and the rich must expend whatever they can to assist the Muslim minorities. Over the last three decades. the process has led to unanticipated consequences. They must be good to them. the two scholars insist that Muslim governments should send to them whoever can assist them in achieving this and ask them to send people to Islamic countries to spread knowledge. This figure must include non-Saudis. two eminent scholars. Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz and Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Uthaymin. Among Muslim minorities in the West. In a pamphlet entitled Muslim Minorities: Fatwa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities. There are approximately 4. therefore. the obligation to protect faith and educate Muslims. As will be demonstrated later in this chapter. help them to understand their religion and help them to acquire complete freedom to manifest the rites and practices of Islam. Two obvious . for example – Saudis do not constitute an immigrant community. some of which represent a direct challenge to Saudi political authority and religious hegemony among Muslims abroad. British Muslims have contested Saudi religious outreach programmes. British statistics on immigration and asylum seekers demonstrate that Saudi physical presence is insignificant in London. invoke a Qur’anic surah in which Muslims have a duty to ‘invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and exhortation and argue with them in a way that is better’. An ethnographic approach proves to be more beneficial in an investigation of a web of networks which both British Muslims and Saudi Arabia would prefer to remain unscrutinized. Saudi Arabia has been active in reaching Muslim communities outside its political boundaries through a systematic application of the concept of da ‘wah and Islamic charity. is regarded by Saudi religious scholars as an important duty of Muslim governments.258 persons born in Saudi Arabia who are now living in Britain. A growing debate among them has led in some instances to challenging Saudi religious interpretations and political wisdom. The reality of the Saudi presence in London Saudi transnational networks are not easily disclosed if one is to confine the investigation to official statistics and quantitative data.9 With regard to Muslim minorities. Unlike other Arab immigrants in Britain – Egyptians and Iraqis. There should be.
176 5. Chinese. there were 10 ethnic categories: White.390 1. It is also self-evident that country-of-birth figures miss Saudi nationals born outside Saudi Arabia and those born in the UK. Indian. the figure includes children of the large British expatriate community in Saudi Arabia.800 ordinary visitors.000 Saudi visitors.557 1.149 Source: Office of Population and Census Survey/ GROS (1993). Arabs in general. ethnic and national categories. The total of 63. with the Boroughs of Westminster. The 1991 census question on ethnicity offers little clarification because it mixes racial.151 1. especially in the 1980s. In 2000. Great Britain (Arab countries only) Country of birth Algeria Egypt Libya Morocco Tunisia Iraq Jordan Lebanon Saudi Arabia Syria Total 1. Black – African.883 611 7. including 39.557 persons born in Saudi Arabia who indicated that their ethnicity is ‘Other – Other’ (see Table 7.1). Bangladeshi. individuals who enter the UK on temporary 3–6 month visas. Second. remained socially marginal and statistically invisible. Black – Other. volume 1. an unfortunate residual ethnic category reflecting British thinking on Arab immigrants who. . small minority compared with other Arab immigrants in the capital.979 1. including Saudis.152 Madawi Al-Rasheed aggregates come to mind. and Other – Other.020 students (see Table 7. are expected to tick the ‘Other – Other’ box.1 Birthplaces of those classified as Other – Other in the 1991 census. While Saudi permanent residents are an insignificant. whose parents have returned to the UK. table 5. 5. despite their increasing numbers.12 A cross-tabulation of ‘Other – Other’ ethnicity and country-of-birth categories gives a figure of 1. Home Office statistics gave an estimate of 63. Chelsea and Kensington. In the census. the UK attracts a large number of Saudi visitors.173 2.200 persons) live in greater London and around 650 Saudi-born individuals live in inner London. First. Racial criteria (‘White’ and ‘Black’) are combined with nationality (‘Pakistani’ and ‘Bangladeshi’).230 businessmen and 2. and Ealing attracting most of the inner-London residents. Other Asian. the figure includes children of parents of other nationalities living in Saudi Arabia who are now resident in Britain. estimated at 30. Black – Caribbean.980 3. Pakistani. Other sources indicate that the great majority of Saudis (approximately 1.000 in 2002.000 visitors must include other categories of visitors who are Table 7.2).
500 42. It is ironic that such middlemen are both the targets and the means of religious transnational flows in the absence of a Saudi critical mass abroad. where a ‘Beirut-on-Thames’ has evolved. teachers and Arabic language instructors.900 58.200 58.900 63.700 64. They tend to congregate in West London. While Iraqi. Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1994–1999. the impact that Saudi Arabia had in London since the 1970s is not in any way proportionate to the number of Saudi residents or sojourners.400 40. .000 Source: Home Office/Government Statistical Service.520 540 1. They also include members of the wealthy elite. Their employment in Saudi overseas networks is a function of domestic concern requiring Saudi Arabia to extend its reach beyond its own population. mediate Saudi influence in London. Non-Saudis.830 4. They tend to operate within the limited immigrant economic/religious niche.230 Students 1. Palestinian and Lebanese immigrants negotiate Saudi economic and media interests. However. This dependency is paramount especially among those who do not have easily transferable skills to enter the wider British economy. Such groups are dependent on Saudi employment. Egyptians and Pakistanis promote Saudi religious transnationalism in the British capital. preachers. mainly Arabs and Asian Muslims. Saudis in London are better considered as transient settlers or sojourners.500 39. Saudi visitors exceeded all visitors from other Arab countries.2 Saudis entering the UK for short visits 1994–2000 Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Ordinary 38. Both Arab and Muslim middlemen play a crucial role in extending Saudi legitimacy beyond its frontiers.020 Total 56.700 5.300 64.210 2. Saudi-funded religious institutions employ Egyptian and Pakistani directors.020 1.830 2. They include those with short-term work contracts and those who choose to come to London to gain work experience with the intention of returning to Saudi Arabia.800 Business 4.100 42. often the owners of large multinational financial institutions with offices in London and other European and North American cities.000 63.13 The inhabitants of this enclave include members of a cosmopolitan Arab elite recently referred to as ‘the Shaykhs of Knightsbridge’.14 Other Saudi sojourners come for short visits seeking pleasure.100 38.230 5. not listed in the statistics. Saudi Arabia exerts tremendous influence as a result of financial resources and religious symbolism rather than mass density.930 4. consisting of a small number of individuals who are posted by their own government or Saudi employers to work in London.800 39. education or medical care.540 2.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 153 Table 7.840 4.890 5.
Leicester and Birmingham. South East Asians. with very small pockets of Shi‘a Muslims. Edinburgh. Arabs being a fringe minority within a minority. as they pass through personal networks and connections. is one of the sources highlighting Saudi spending and donations worldwide. British Muslims are estimated at 1 million. the Organization of the Islamic Conference. if not all. Its objectives are set out in its mission statement: ‘To explain and disseminate Islamic culture and teachings. Provide assistance in the fields of education. Asian Islam tends to draw on the orthodox Deobandi and Sufi Berlewi traditions.517. most. Literature on British Muslims has either ignored the issue of Saudi funding. Donations for less prestigious organizations tend to be covert. Indians. which people are reluctant to disclose.16 In 2002.154 Madawi Al-Rasheed The ‘Saudization’ of British Islam The face of British Islam is highly Asian.17 Individual donations from princes and charitable Saudi non-governmental organizations are channelled to British Muslims as gifts for mosques and cultural and educational centres.19 Other organizations disseminate Saudi funds – for example. an inter-state Muslim organization. which includes Bangladeshis. Arabs and Africans. Saudi official publications highlight sums donated for prestigious and highly visible projects – for example. The Muslim World League (established in 1962). In 1999. exaggerated it.20 Some research highlights British Muslims’ selfreliance and their ability to raise funds for religious and language education among members of the community. coming from the government of Saudi Arabia’.15 Other estimates give a figure of 1. Defend Islamic causes in accordance with the interests and aspirations of Muslims and solve their problems.5 million King Fahd Mosque in the heart of Scottish capital Edinburgh on Friday 31 July 1998’.’ The Muslim World League Journal. culture. a figure of 2 million Muslims was often quoted as realistic. the same journal reported that ‘the Muslim World League has so far spent over six billion Saudi Riyals in its endeavours to extend services to Islam and Muslims. the amount of funds transferred through these means remains difficult to estimate. a monthly English and Arabic publication of the Muslim World League.000. In 1998.18 Saudi Arabia contributed 90 per cent of the funds. is an important institution through which Saudi government funds are generally distributed among British Muslims. or simply undermined its magnitude. Pakistanis. part of a wider concern with Muslim issues in general. Refute false allegations against Islam and repel pernicious trends and concepts. the building of mosques in London. the cover story of this journal reported that ‘Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz opened the new £3. the King Faysal Foundation and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. Any public acknowledgement of outside funding does also open up debates about loyalty and commitment to the host society. both common in the Indian subcontinent. However. Drawing on the results of the 1991 census. British Muslims themselves are reluctant to disclose Saudi funds as they attempt to draw the attention of local authorities to their needs as religious communities. social welfare health care etc. Occasionally members of the British Muslim .
since the 1980s more Saudis are occupying key posts in mosques and other religious centres due to the lack of indigenous specialists. mostly concerned with welfare. Arabic language instructors and religious educators in the various Saudisponsored schools. Saudi Arabia perceived Iran under the rule of the Ayatollahs as a real rival with similar desires to win over British Muslims. Substantial numbers of such graduates are sent abroad as du‘at (missionaries). Shaykh Zaki Badawi. According to British government statistics on work permits. the rise in the number of mosques in Britain was related to the Saudi oil boom of the early 1970s.000 mosques in Britain. The story of the principal of the Islamic College. often for ideological. Many hold ‘diplomatic status’ which makes them invisible in British labour-force surveys and Department of Employment statistics.23 The sheer number of these is a function of the minimal British legal requirements for setting up such organizations. which had resulted in the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. While the extent of Saudi funding remains a matter of speculation. which started during . the conflict intensified with the outbreak of the Iran–Iraq War (1980). when they fall out with Saudi sponsors. British Muslims have established cultural organizations funded by local communities and gifts from Saudi Arabia. it is clear that in Britain the number of annual mosque registrations grew suddenly between threeand fourfold after 1974. competition and rivalry between the two countries increased Saudi Arabia’s determination to establish itself as the guardian of Muslim interest worldwide. Iran adopted a hostile stance towards Saudi Arabia and endeavoured to use religious rhetoric to undermine Saudi legitimacy and even sovereignty over the two holy mosques. there are approximately 1. Only when he became independent of Saudi funding was he ready to discuss Saudi control over British Islam and the funds dedicated to the purpose.21 According to several estimates. and tend to be seconded from Saudi institutions and universities. is revealing. mosque imams. Notwithstanding the difficulty in estimating Saudi funding. It is estimated that there are more than 4. Between 1994 and 1999. whereas in reality they are run from private homes serving as ‘headquarters’. Saudi graduates of the five religious universities are not easily absorbed into the local religious economy. when Saudi Arabia openly sided with Iraq. 20 work permits were issued annually to Saudi citizens. They work as directors.25 In the 1980s a key event outside both Britain and Saudi Arabia accelerated Saudi interest in religious transnationalism – the Iranian Revolution. The 1970s religious initiatives of mosque and institution building in London. colleges and organizations in the British capital.000 Muslim organizations in Britain. In addition to doctrinal differences between Shi‘a Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. However. an Egyptian.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 155 community disclose sources of funding when ‘things go wrong’ – for example. political or personal reasons. only a small number of Saudis are issued with such permits. among other Arab countries. While the battle was heated in the Gulf for eight years.24 Saudi interest in British Muslims started in the 1970s and was initially maintained by Pakistanis and Egyptians.22 In addition to mosques. Some religious organizations look glamorous on paper.
the Islamic Cultural Centre and al-Muntada al-Islami. a gift from the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques. two highly visible projects are discussed here. an imposing building with annexes in one of London’s prime locations. Unlike other Saudi institutions in London – for example. it did not fully materialize until the Second World War when Britain felt it needed to make favourable impressions on the Muslim world. King Fahd ibn Abd al-Aziz to British Muslims’. Boxes are labelled ‘Copy of the Holy Qur’an in Urdu.26 Visitors to the London mosque and the centre have no doubt that they are in a religious institution with close financial ties to Saudi Arabia. They were given clearance to enter the UK and an almost free hand to preach the call for jihad. A second pile of boxes full of copies of the Qur’an in English. Any account of Saudi religious connections must start with the famous Regent’s Park Mosque. British foreign policies in the 1980s and early 1990s promoted and supported Afghan military resistance based on Islamic ideology. Bengali and several other languages lines the walls in the mosque entrance.156 Madawi Al-Rasheed King Faysal’s reign. began to be consolidated in the 1980s. A second event accelerating Saudi religious transnationalism was the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the beginning of the Islamic jihad movement against the occupiers. part of the Islamic Cultural Centre. Competition between the two countries over religious interpretation and influence among British Muslims intensified. as well as financing charitable foundations and Islamic relief operations aimed at alleviating the plight of the Afghan refugees. which dedicated vast sums to aid the military operations. They are distributed free of charge to pilgrims as well as in mosques throughout the world. The policy favoured training and financing various groups to pursue an ultimate goal. Such copies of the Qur’an are produced in the King Fahd Holy Qur’an Printing Complex in Medina. King Fahd Academy. in the process recruiting young British Muslims for the war in Afghanistan. Common political goals between Britain and Saudi Arabia meant that Saudi emissaries to British Muslims were tolerated. The printing house has printed more that 100 million copies of the Qur’an in eight major languages. This objective was also on the agenda of Saudi Arabia. Stacks of unopened boxes line the inside wall of the entrance hall. perhaps for lack of alternative options. However. and now Iran has emerged as an active agent. thanks to the efforts of Indian Muslims. It includes several mosques. Saudi Arabia was a direct target of this rhetoric. Turkish. the defeat of the occupying Soviet army in Afghanistan. organizations and Islamic colleges. determined to export not only its revolution but also its political opposition to Muslim leaders allied with the West. While the project of establishing a grand central mosque in London started early in the twentieth century. Saudi sponsorship of religious institutions in London Saudi sponsorship of religious institutions in London is vast. established in 1985. which was initially conceived as an educational centre for children of Saudi diplomats and other Arabs – these two organizations are open to all Muslims in the British capital. Prime Minister Winston Churchill .
with a prayer hall. thus terminating the directorship of previous Indian and Pakistani Muslims. consisting of three Arab notables. However. methodology. Abdullah Yusuf Ali. For example. lecture theatre. In 2000 a Saudi. insists that the centre is ‘an independent organization. We do not depend financially on any country. Al-Muntada seems to be a smaller and humbler version of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Regent’s Park.27 It paid the salaries of imams. In 1986 Saudi Arabia established a second centre. While substantial finances came from Saudi Arabia. gymnasium. To inaugurate the take-over. which in 1977 cost nearly £6 million. al-Muntada al-Islami. Muhammad Najjar. education and spreading awareness amongst Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK’. in Parson’s Green. He referred to ‘demonstrations’ and ‘people who use the mosque to attack Arab governments. if one follows the regular weekly Friday sermon in both Arabic and English.’30 Reading the various publications of the centre. The centre’s mission statement describes it as ‘an independent Islamic organisation of ahl al-sunnah wa al-jamaah that focuses on da ‘wah (propagation of Islamic teachings through missionary activities). in an article . With the increase in Saudi oil revenues in the 1970s. and an Indian Muslim scholar. south-west London. offices and guest rooms. school (150 mainly South Asian pupils in 2000). Hamad al-Majid. the human resources remained Egyptian. directors and preachers. and moral distinction’. including Saudi Arabia’. there is no doubt that criticism of Saudi Arabia on political and religious grounds is never a feature of this important Muslim event. seconded from King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz University.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 157 approved the allocation of £100. The organization claims to be ‘a leading centre for the propagation of the teachings of al-salaf al-salih (our righteous predecessors) and a reliable source of guidance for all Muslims in Britain on matters of Islamic law. In 1944 Regent’s Lodge was founded as London’s mosque and the property was transferred to a mosque committee. arrived in London as the new director.000 for the purchase of a site in 1940. The Egyptian government ‘shouldered the financial responsibility of running Regent’s Lodge as a mosque and a cultural centre for almost twenty five years’. He dismissed any suggestion that Saudi Arabia controls the centre: ‘Saudi support does not mean that the Saudis have political interest. bookshop. Saudi Arabia contributed £2 million and King Khalid donated £1. Saudi Arabia initiated a plan to rebuild the mosque. Sometimes things happen at the centre that the Saudis do not approve of ’. In 1978 Dr Zaki Badawi. Hafiz Wahba and Rauf Chadirji. one has the impression of a strong association with Saudi religious interpretations. Hasan Nashat Pasha.28 Al-Majid was evasive when asked to give examples of ‘things that the Saudis do not approve of ’. We try to stay away from links from particular countries. MPs referred to them as ‘distinguished Muslims’. a listed charity. The British parliament did not regard these notables as representatives of their governments. In parliamentary discussions. was director. the Palestinian director of al-Muntada.29 Like the Saudi director of the Islamic Cultural Centre.2 million as a trust to cover maintenance and administration. the Regent’s Park Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre became Saudi institutions in all but name.
It urged Muslims to shun the celebrations because 1. 2. Before the millennium celebrations in December 2000. by medieval Muslim scholar Ahmad Abd al-Halim ibn Taymiyyah. In Saudi Arabia the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta (Riyadh) is in control of religious interpretations. the imam of al-Furqan Mosque in Mecca. a dignified scholar. exchanging cards with the “unbelievers”. its publications indicate an obvious association with Saudi religious interpretations within the mainstream Sunni tradition. 8. which lies at the heart of Islamic interpretations in Saudi Arabia.Celebrating the millennium makes Islam appear as similar to other false religions. Both the Islamic Cultural Centre and al-Muntada al-Islami disseminate religious knowledge. This book is a must-read for all of those involved in Dawah. 7. 3.Congratulating each other or the non-believers is unlawful.34 While the Centre is a Sunni institution. 4. 5. A closer examination of the fatwah (religious decree) section of al-Muntada’s magazine also points to an intimate connection with Saudi religious interpretations. the most eloquent and truthful . one subscriber to al-Muntada’s magazine asked for ‘an Islamic opinion regarding celebrating this occasion. As mentioned earlier. produced either by Saudi scholars or others who endorse their interpretations. and giving days off as a vacation during the period of this event’. .Muslims should commit themselves to the Muslim calendar. the reviewer describes this Islamic personality as ‘a figure in the Islamic heritage. a trespassing of the borders of Allah. copies of which are distributed by al-Muntada. but a close examination of publications and religious opinions indicate that this is another institution in London with intimate theological and financial links to Saudi Arabia.’31 Ibn Taymiyyah’s theology was the basis of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s eighteenth-century reform movement.Imitating the non-believers in the exterior behaviour leads to some kind of love and support to them in the interior.158 Madawi Al-Rasheed praising the translation and publication of Letters from Prison.It is unlawful to advertise the event electronically and in print media. And finally 9.There is no Islamic evidence that those dates (of the Millennium) have any precedence over other days.Celebrating with the non-believers is a sin.Jews’ and Christians’ theories about the millennium are against the Islamic true revelation.33 The banning of participation in the millennium celebrations draws heavily on the opinion of the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta and the fatwah of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Sudays. . . and are merely an illusion.It is prohibited to imitate the non-believers. a benevolent man with a heart full of emaan (faith) and mercy. 6.32 The Committee gave nine reasons to ‘make Muslims aware of the misguidance deliberately condoned by the People of the Book’. al-Muntada’s director is keen to stress the Centre’s independence.
the Rushdie affair dominated public debate among Muslims in Britain in the 1980s. Their activism during the crisis also increased the visibility of such communities in British public discourse. When immigrants started bringing their families to Britain. the initial gratitude towards Saudi funding gave way to questioning the authenticity. a Saudi. First. Saudi funds. their main concern was to preserve their Islamic identity and allow their children to retain their faith and rituals. but from Iran. Saudi global reach has become a contested issue among British Muslims in recent years. in the 1980s. together with local-authority sources. chaired a meeting of Arab ambassadors. The death fatwah of 1988 against Salman Rushdie by Ayatollah Khomeini did not fall on deaf ears among British Muslims. In the opinion of a British Muslim. mosques and educational centres. The Rushdie affair was a catalyst for the politicization of religious identity. The country’s popularity became inversely proportional to the level of finance it undertook after that time.36 . At a time when Islam was no more than a set of rituals for the majority of early Asian Muslim immigrants. deep gratitude for Saudi funding which enabled them to preserve their faith and its rituals characterized their attitude towards the Saudi religious global reach. Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia urged that Rushdie be tried in absentia. were channelled towards achieving such objectives in the context of establishing immigrant organizations.’35 In the aftermath of Khomeini’s fatwah. the meeting called rather weakly for a state ban of The Satanic Verses. especially among young Muslims. all trustees of the centre. In the words of a British Muslim. It is only after questioning of the Saudi position during the crisis of 1988–1989 in the British Muslim media that Shaykh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz. Bradford Muslims played a leading role in stirring the debate. with the politicization of religious identity among Muslims in Britain and elsewhere in the world. politically and economically marginalized in British society. ‘What had the Saudis done? Muslims openly began to question whether the ruling Saudi dynasty was worthy to be called the guardians of the two holy cities. who so far had been socially. A series of events played a crucial role in the shift towards critical evaluation of Saudi religious global outreach among British Muslims. until then regarded as the custodian of Islam and Muslim interests. on charges of heretical crimes against the House of Islam. religious credentials and political wisdom of Saudi Arabia. the director of the Islamic Cultural Centre. What astonished the majority of British Muslims was the fact that the death fatwah was not issued from Saudi Arabia.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 159 Debating Saudi religious transnationalism In the 1970s most British Muslims associated Saudi Arabia with authentic Islam. Maghram al-Ghamdi. under Islamic law in a Muslim country. which resulted in an agreement to campaign peacefully against Rushdie’s book. Saudi religious knowledge could not be dissociated from Saudi political decisions. whose first demonstrations against Rushdie’s book in Bradford on 11 December 1988 and 14 January 1989 drew attention to scattered communities of Asian immigrants. However.
which contained contradictory aspirations. For the Saudis routinely ban books. the Jeddah-based Organization of the Islamic Conference (established in 1969) agreed reluctantly to put the issue on its agenda.160 Madawi Al-Rasheed According to many Muslims in Britain. Sections of the Pakistani Muslim community in Manchester openly declared admiration of . hollow. even imports of sacred literature (like the Koran) are prohibited if printed outside the Saudi Kingdom.38 The different approaches of Iran and Saudi Arabia during the Rushdie affair should be understood in the context of the rivalry between the two countries over Islamic legitimacy and interpretation. for the Saudis. In the 1990s official Saudi transnational religious networks in London were increasingly seen by British Muslims as an attempt to divert attention from the country’s close alliance with the West and the USA. In the first incident. For example. In 1990 the controversial Director of the Muslim Parliament (established in 1992). the British government would have declared him persona non grata (an undesirable person) and expelled him’. exposed Saudi Arabia’s legal restrictions on women. he envisaged an autonomous British Muslim community with a ‘special relationship with the Islamic state of Iran’. A British Muslim concluded: The reputation of their family is. The arrival of almost 500. ironically still receiving Saudi funds for the maintenance of their religious centres in Britain. including those in Britain. British Muslims compared Saudi reactions to the showing of the film Death of a Princess on British television with the ‘mild reaction’ to the publication of The Satanic Verses. The second event fuelling the debate on Saudi religious transnationalism among British Muslims was the Gulf War of 1990–1. . Some British Muslims welcomed the Iranian position at the expense of the Saudi approach. documenting the elopement of a Saudi princess with a commoner and her later punishment. .000 foreign troops in Saudi Arabia to liberate Kuwait did little to change images of Saudi Arabia as a close ally of the West. published a Muslim Manifesto. . Saudi Arabia’s overt resort to American and European military assistance infuriated not only sections of its own population but also some Muslims. gentle and undemonstrative response. Dr Kalim Siddiqi. The organization is described as ‘essentially a club of pro-Western Islamic countries’. Maghram al-Ghamdi [Saudi Director of Islamic Cultural Centre] been leading an effective campaign of mobilising Muslim opinion in Britain against Salman Rushdie.37 The organization’s resolution to ban the book and boycott all Penguin publications unless the offending book was immediately withdrawn had little effect. The Saudi ban is. more worthy of protection than the reputation of the Prophet Muhammad. described as a conspicuously slow.39 In previous speeches and publications. in real terms. Siddiqi had declared that ‘had Saudi diplomat. Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Britain and threatened economic sanctions. The film. Saudi Arabia lost the moral high ground in the eyes of British Muslims. to the detriment of Muslim causes.40 Saudi efforts to Saudize British Islam seem to have had their first setback with the Rushdie affair.
Saad al-Faqih. Q News. had been a medical student in London in the 1970s. he had cultivated links with British Muslims. Saudi dissidents Muhammad al-Masari and Saad al-Faqih established the Committee for Defence of Legitimate Rights in Saudi Arabia in the British capital. Birmingham. Tipton. the events of 11 September 2001 represented a further blow to Saudi credibility among British Muslims. A sympathetic Arab and Asian Muslim constituency facilitated the establishment of the two Saudi exiles in the British capital. among others. In October 2001. The London Islamist infrastructure proved to be advantageous for the newly arriving Saudi dissidents as they all rejected Saudi decisions during the Gulf War. took an overtly hostile stand . They considered London an attractive exile destination. Luton. given its robust media. Their press conferences (reported by the mainstream British press). Palestinian Hamas and the Algerian Armed Islamic Group. In the months that followed the attacks. including that of the prophet himself ’. supporters of Hizb al-Tahrir. the Gulf War led to the crystallization of a Saudi Islamist opposition whose outspoken members took refuge in London after being subjected to interrogation. the director of CDLR. Leicester and other British cities. It would have been difficult to launch an opposition campaign without the hospitality and support of sections of the British Muslim community. The debate on Saudi religious transnationalism entered a new phase with the ‘war on terrorism’ campaign in 2001–2. Through their opposition campaign in the early 1990s. More recently.42 During this period. More importantly. It was obvious that in the early 1990s their demonstrations in front of the gates of the Saudi Embassy in West London attracted non-Saudis. several British Muslims suspected of links with al-Qaeda. regarded as the desecrators of saints’ shrines throughout Arabia. Some members of the British Muslim community in London welcomed the exiled Saudi dissidents. sympathized with the Saudi exiles who began to build networks with other Islamist groups. a leading British Muslim publication. mainly Arab and Asian Muslims who sympathized with their message. to the detriment of the country’s standing among British Muslims.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 161 Saddam Hussein and condemned Saudi Arabia for inviting foreign troops to the land of Islam. London was attractive because it hosted a wide range of Muslim opposition groups – for example. Osama bin Laden’s idea of an Islamic international brigade. In 1994. Saudi exiles further exposed contradictions in Saudi politics. demonstrations near the Saudi embassy and regular appearance on British television exposed Saudi rhetoric and undermined the country’s credibility.41 In Saudi Arabia. were arrested in London. which guaranteed wide publicity. Arab Islamist exiles who assumed leadership positions in several fringe London mosques and their followers. harassment and imprisonment in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi image deteriorated after 19 Arab hijackers (15 of them Saudis) crashed two aeroplanes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and a third into the Pentagon in Washington. the majority of whom were young Asian and black Muslims. This stemmed from ‘continuous opposition to the Wahhabi movement and its Saudi rulers.
. Also. who consider the Shia and the Sufis to be unbelievers. British Muslims of Pakistani. for example Abu Qatada. ‘European Muslims should be only Muslims instead of forever remaining North African. Their loyalty to Britain was questioned. the latter is understood to be predominantly Saudi. including blacks and converts. and later an African by the name of Abdullah al-Faysal. The mother of 22-year-old Feroz Abassi from south London. Pakistani. Djamel Beghal and Yasir al-Sirri) in both the USA and London revealed that such persons have come under the influence of London-based Arab preachers. British Muslims are developing a new discourse. into the wilder wilderness of Wahhabism as preached by the fierce zealots of Najd. Blaming Arab Muslims for brainwashing. . Active citizenship has to be encouraged. The arrest of several Egyptians and Algerians (for example Zacharia Moussawi. increasingly seen as radical and intolerant of religious diversity. . Ibn Saud had no idea that his citizens might become international terrorists when he established his state. or Turkish Muslims. Bangladeshi and Indian origin are beginning to distance themselves from so-called Arab Islam. the detention of British Muslims in both Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba further contributed to the vulnerability of the British Muslim community and inflamed the debate regarding its loyalty to Britain. After decades of emphasizing a kind of Muslim solidarity cutting across ethnicity and nationality in the pursuit of both the ideal of the Muslim ummah (community) and recognition in British society as a religious group. now felt exposed. She claimed he fell under the influence of Abu Hamza al-Masri. British Muslims felt vulnerable. whose main champion so far is Saudi Arabia.44 The Muslim Council of Britain described British detainees as ‘street kids who have been manipulated by others’. after the September attacks.45 As Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network is increasingly being described as a transnational web of Muslim terrorists with cells in more than 60 countries. described her son as ‘brainwashed’. The Ikhwan seem to be back . Wahhabism itself is currently bitterly divided between royalists and Kharijii tendencies . and a European Islamic culture needs to be created. Almost all families of those arrested or detained in Afghanistan and Cuba described their young sons as having been ‘brainwashed’ by Arab preachers and radicals. radicalizing and leading . . especially after several British citizens of Pakistani origin were arrested in Afghanistan following the defeat of the Taliban regime. A new category. who was among the detainees in Cuba.162 Madawi Al-Rasheed towards Saudi Arabia: Islam leads some further astray. One of the main feature of this new discourse distinguishes between Asian and Arab Islam. with a rigid theology unsuitable for Muslim minorities living in the West. a cleric in Finsbury Park Mosque.’46 Supporters of this new identity argue that Saudi religious transnationalism undermines the development of a tolerant European Islam. is also gathering credibility.43 In general. Abu Hamza. According to an advocate of this trend. who was arrested in 1999 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and released without charge. ‘European Muslims’. A wide range of Muslims. new classifications are assuming hegemonic status among diaspora Muslim communities.
Britain has tolerated foreign opposition groups using its soil to launch aggressive political campaigns against their own governments.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 163 British Muslims astray has become common. Saudi or otherwise. especially when perceived to be instigated by foreign governments. the same restrictions will affect its own ability to reach Muslims in Britain. Historically. like those religious networks of Saudi Arabia. And now the oil money is running out too. apart from the annual pilgrimage. However. Calls for ‘rooting out undesirable outside influences’ became numerous in the aftermath of 11 September. opposition groups and others who have made Britain a temporary home. it remains to be seen whether political interests. This also applies to how Britain welcomes religious transnational connections.47 The future of Saudi religious transnationalism will depend on British policies – for example. especially those initiated by Muslim governments. Saudi Arabia will rejoice over the tightening of opportunities for Islamic dissidents – especially in Britain. Conclusion Saudi discourse emphasizes that the propagation of faith among Muslim minorities is a religious duty to be undertaken by government. expediency and opportunism will dictate the treatment of a whole range of dissidents. Substantial funds may be required to cement the relationship. declared: I would go further and say that the more pluralistic practice of Islam in parts of Africa and Asia is going to take over from Arab Islam as the driving force of the religion in the next few decades. Why? Because from the Arab heartland at the moment. While new laws have already been put in place to fight terrorism. extreme Islamic interpretations are increasingly seen as responsible for the radicalization of young British Muslims. In the Saudi case. this is not self-evident. The media play an important role in enforcing these perceptions among both Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain. we get nothing. a Ugandan Asian Muslim. their agents in Britain or asylum seekers. new legislation indicates a change of perception and policy. tolerance of or restrictions on Islamist politics in general. the . without a serious assessment of the economic and social conditions that make these young people susceptible to radical preaching. where they had been guaranteed a platform which in the 1990s Saudi Arabia struggled to dismantle without obvious success. It remains to be seen whether the country will regain its credibility among British Muslims. In particular. Given the intimate association between 11 September and Saudi Arabia. official Saudi outreach programmes and charitable donations might come under greater scrutiny by the recipients and their host society. both products of British interests at home and abroad. but given the current economic situation in the country itself. After 11 September. which has been played down by all parties involved for obvious reasons. The British Anti-terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2001 reflect growing intolerance of activities broadly defined within the parameters of terrorism. Economist and former editor of Inquiry Magazine Iqbal Asaria.
p. Religion and Global Order (Cardiff: University of Wales Press.html 3 I am grateful to Christa Salamandra for research assistance and for conducting interviews in London. pp. National Review 54/20 (2002).164 Madawi Al-Rasheed quest of the Saudi leadership for legitimacy among Muslims abroad is achieved under the umbrella of religious duty. pp. 2 A. Executive Intelligence Review. Other Muslim countries do not feel the urge to be seen as champions of Islam and Muslim causes. These debates remain a product of the specific local context of British Muslims. Guarnizo (eds).nationalreview. both factors encourage a commitment to religious transnationalism. Le Monde. Smith. this study has demonstrated that it is an active agent in the process. 274.com/flashback/flashback-alexiev112602. 73. Esposito and M. The process has set in motion strong controversies relating not only to the legitimacy of Saudi religious interpretations but also Saudi political decisions. ‘The Locations of Transnationalism’. McAlister. . in M. 8 J. global reach has been dependent on other diasporas (mainly Muslims and Arabs) for the promotion of religious transnational connections. 1998).asp. Smith and L. ‘Au coeur du Londistan’. one Arab and one Islamic. 2001). P. in J. 66–99. Transnationalism from Below (New Brunswick: Transaction. Alexiev. Watson (eds). serving mainly to consolidate Saudi legitimacy in three concentric circles – one domestic.com/lar/2000. 1945–2000 (Berkeley: University of California Press. While such debates are an outcome of Saudi religious transnationalism. promotion and maintenance of transnational connections. It is ironic that the Saudi reputation has been inversely proportional to the funds deployed. 5 Ibid. 10 September 2001. Langellier. but Saudi Arabia does. 2000). see http://www. 7 M. Guarnizo and M. terror_memo_2703. While Saudi Arabia is not normally associated with transnationalism. Saudi religious transnationalism has resulted in unanticipated debates among British Muslims. Epic Encounters: Culture. 21 January 2000: see http://www.larochepub. It is unique in the Islamic world because of its sovereignty over territories considered the heritage of all Muslims and because of its wealth. ‘Religious Transnationalism and Global Order with Particular Reference to Islam’. Notes 1 J. Saudi transnational connections in London demonstrate the shortcomings of approaches emphasizing the importance of diaspora communities in establishing overseas networks beyond the territorial nation-state. The Saudi case draws attention to the irrelevance of a large overseas population for the creation. In the Saudi/British case. at p. Media and US Interests in the Middle East. they escape the control of those who initiate them. they represent a direct challenge to Saudi authority. 3–34. at p. Piscatori. It seems that as transnational processes gather momentum. 6 Ibid. This chapter demonstrates that such connections can lead to outcomes contrary to the interests of those involved in sponsoring them. ‘The End of an Alliance: It’s Time to Tell the House of Saud Goodbye’. See also ‘Put Britain on the List of States Sponsoring Terrorism’. 3. 4 L. policies and stature in the Muslim world.
88. al-Sudays. Islam. Muslim World League Journal 26/8 (1998): 20. 18 M. Schnapper (eds). ‘Madha ukhabi’ al-mustaqbal li shuyukh Knightsbridge al-arab’. Islam in Britain (London: Ta Ha. 110. p. 1994). p. Al-Rasheed. 1994). ‘The Other-Others: Hidden Arabs’. Idha’at bi munasabat ‘am 2000 (Riyadh: Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta. 25 Home Office/Government Statistical Services. 341.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 165 9 ‘Sura al-nahl 16/25’. 50. pp. Mission Statement (leaflet 02/09) (London: al-Muntada al-Islami. Muslim Minorities. Badawi. Research Paper 8. Nielson. 1994).. 99. . p. ‘Islam and Muslims in Britain’. 35 S. Robinson. ‘Islam and Muslims in Britain’. 36 Ibid. 29 Al-Muntada al-Islami. 31 Al-Jumuah 11/10 (1420 AH): 8. p. in M. Akhtar. pp. ‘The Gulf War: Lay Preachers and Political Dissent among British Pakistanis’. 14 M. p. pp.). Islamic Britain – Religion. 33 Ibid. 21 Ibid. 50. Raza. 30 Interview conducted by Christa Salamandra (London. Metcalf.d. ‘Britain’. Lebor. 14. Politics and Identity among British Muslims: Bradford in the 1990s (London: I. 28 Interview conducted by Christa Salamandra (London. 206–20. at p. p. Yamani. in C. Geaves. 16 R. 339–61. Muslim Minorities: Fatwa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities (Hounslow: Message of Islam. B. 39 Ahsan. at p. 23 Z. 351. Islam in Britain: Past. 11 Ibid. Varieties of South Asian Islam. al-‘Uthaymin. 1999). 1998). 60. Peach (ed. p. Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations (Coventry: University of Warwick. Haque. 1996). Muslim World League Journal 26/4 (1998): 7–8. Hashmi (eds). Islam. in David Westerlund (ed. Die Welt des Islams 21/1–4 (1983): 193–208. 1999). pp. 1991). 32 M. 19. A Heart Turned East: Among the Muslims of Europe and America (London: Little. 1910–1980’. 360. Selly Oak College. 13. 1997). 1981). al-Quds al-Arabi. Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband 1860–1900 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Islam. Hussein and T. Tauris.). in A. 17 B. Muslims and the Modern State: Case-Studies of Muslims in Thirteen Countries (London: Macmillan. ‘History of the London Central Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre. 18. p. Ethnicity in the 1991 Census (London: HMSO.. 40 Ibid. Lewis and D. 26 ‘Saudi Arabia Serving Global Islamic Community’. Werbner. 27 A. Muslims in Europe (London: Printer Publisher. 357–78. in B. 34 A. Brown & Co. Present and Future (Leicester: Volcano. 2000). Muslim World League Journal 26/10 (1999): 7. 20 J.. 24 Nielson.). 12 M. 1 December 2001. 2001). al-Jumuah 11/10 (1420 AH): 17. 38 Akhtar. ‘King Fahd Mosques in Los Angeles and Edinburgh’. 22 M. 10 Ibn Baz and al-‘Uthaymin. at p. 1982). 1992). Islam Outside the Arab World (Richmond: Curzon. 2001). M. 37 M. 1989). 13 A. Ahsan. 16. 15 P. al-Abdah (comp. 41 P. 19 ‘Major Islamic Organisations: Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Service of Islam and Muslims’. p. 98–115. Lewis. Be Careful with Muhammad: The Salman Rushdie Affair (London: Below. Ibn Baz and M. Muslims and British Local and Central Government (Birmingham: Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations. 1988). p. Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1994–1999 (London: HMSO. ‘Ibn Taymiyyah’s Letters from Prison’. p. Nasir and M. 65. Tibawi. p. Be Careful with Muhammad.). n.
Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband 1860–1900. Guarnizo (eds). Metcalf. 57. Al-Rasheed. Islam in Britain. London: I. A. 1998. Fandy. . IbnBaz. pp. 14.d. London: Ta Ha. Alexiev. Ahsan. Current History 95/597 (1996): 16–22. and al-‘Uthaymin. 1994. pp. Transnationalism from Below.com/flashback/flashbackalexiev112602. New York: St Martin’s Press. see http://www. M. al-Muntada al-Islami Mission Statement (leaflet 02/09). 1981. 2001. Smith and L. London: Below. ‘Britain’. Guarnizo. ‘Islam and Muslims in Britain’. McAlister. Geaves. Muslim World League Mission Statement. 1989. and Smith. Time Magazine. 1999). M. J. in David Westerlund (ed. 1999). 16–21.nationalreview. National Review 54/20 (2002).d. B.. and Haque. M. Akhtar. Hashmi (eds). Islam Outside the Arab World. Richmond: Curzon. ‘Au coeur du Londistan’. Hussein and T. Badawi.166 Madawi Al-Rasheed 42 On Saudi Islamist opposition. Muslims and the Modern State: Case-Studies of Muslims in Thirteen Countries. 1999. 1998. London: Macmillan. 46 T. 24 December 2001. Politics and Identity among British Muslims: Bradford in the 1990s. at p. Tauris. New Brunswick: Transaction. 1945–2000.) ‘Ibn Taymiyyah’s Letters from Prison’. The Common Good (newsletter of the Muslim Council of Great Britain) 2/1 (February 2002): 1–2. Epic Encounters: Culture. M. 43 ‘There are no Muslim Terrorists’. Z. 44 The Independent. Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent. London: Little.). 1999. Prospect. ‘Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition’. Islam. in M. Be Careful with Muhammad: The Salman Rushdie Affair. 1999). Bibliography al-Abdah. B. 357–78. To be a European Muslim (Leicester: Islamic Foundation.asp. R. M. pp. HomeOffice/Government Statistical Services Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1994–1999 (London: HMSO. Media and US Interests in the Middle East. 1982. in M. P. ‘King Fahd Mosques in Los Angeles and Edinburgh’. 1994. 45 ‘Respect for Rule of Law: MCB Seeks Transfer of British Detainees’. Nasir. p. Princeton: Princeton University Press. M. 10 September 2001. London: World Muslim League. see M. 20 January 2002. A Heart Turned East: Among the Muslims of Europe and America. n. M. Berkeley: University of California Press. 47 ‘Roundtable Islam and the West’. Muslim World League Journal 26/4 (1998): 7–8. ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’. November 2001. Ramadan. ‘The End of an Alliance: It’s Time to Tell the House of Saud Goodbye’. Brown & Co. Islamic Britain – Religion. 3–34. al-Jumuah 11/10 (1420 AH). P. n. Muslim Minorities: Fatwa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities. L. Le Monde. Hounslow: Message of Islam. also M. Muslim World League Journal 26/10 (1999): 7. A. (comp. 11/12 (1420 AH). pp. 1997. ‘Major Islamic Organisations: Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Service of Islam and Muslims’. Lewis. ‘The Locations of Transnationalism’. London: al-Muntada al-Islami. Fandy. Lebor. Ramadan. Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent (New York: St Martin’s Press. S. A. Q News 336 (October 2001): 9. Langellier. M. 18. p. 339–61. See also T.
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the definition of political opposition in terms of theological heterodoxy. In its most extreme manifestation. through a system of subsidies and privileged citizenship. early Wahhabi thought rationalized conquest. During this period. Since the border was closed by British diktat in 1920s. has remained a consistent trope until the present day. this arrangement remained open to periodic challenges between 1927 and 1930. which was. for the greater independence that the ‘ulama’ enjoyed in the pre-modern period. Therefore. from religious conservatives.4 However. which arose because of the rise in oil revenues in the 1960s. And while realpolitik often dictated that relations with the non-Wahhabi exterior be other than one of jihad. mitigated by the need to maintain a tribal social hierarchy that kept the Al Sa‘ud at the apex. by way of partial compensation. both internal and external to the Saudi polity. who have argued. the broad strategy of the Al Sa‘ud has been to find ways of curtailing the moral authority of the ‘ulama’ to interpret religion within the confines of a modern bureaucratic system by turning them into functionaries of the state. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. but rather less attention has been given to the implications of that association for the export of Wahhabism abroad. the modern state was able to replace Wahhabi ideology as an effective means of control of the formerly nomadic tribes.8 Wahhabism in the United Kingdom Manifestations and reactions1 Jonathan Birt Academic discussion has long speculated on the nature of the relationship between the Al Sa‘ud and the Wahhabi ‘ulama’ (religious scholars) in terms of state formation and maintenance. which took the faith of the Muslim masses as read – viewed others outside the expanding tribal polity as unbelievers (kuffar). whose remit would ultimately be decided by the King. Wahhabism – in a definite break with the late medieval Sunni consensus. the ‘ulama’ were diverted by the opportunity. in 1979 and after 1990. on each occasion.3 As Aziz al-Azmeh argues.2 It is possible to see the relationship between Wahhabism and its exterior – political and ideational – in purely instrumental terms. plunder and subjugation of others on the part of a particular tribal power group (‘asabiyyah) in terms of an exclusive theology. whether they were non-Muslims or non-Wahhabi Muslims. to lead . however. Wahhabi clerics took the central role in defining the basis of political unity by demanding strict religious conformity from incorporated tribes.
Equally important has been the sheer size of the Saudi book market.5 Similarly. Jordan and Lebanon.9 In the 1980s. an instrumentalist analysis does not go far enough in explaining the ambition of the Saudi state to promote its religious vision beyond its own borders. it is useful to invoke here the notion of ‘empire’. once it had the means to hand.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 169 a worldwide mission (da ‘wah) to spread the one and true correct Islam elsewhere rather than challenging the legitimacy of the Saudi state. 1996).7 Serious money was also spent on buying up Arab religious publishing houses that espouse non-Wahhabi views – especially in Saudi Arabia itself. which had opposed the use of American troops to defend the country from Saddam Hussein in 1991. In the 1960s. the da ‘wah has turned in on itself to counteract dissent from anti-Saudi Wahhabis at home and abroad. As a result. Therefore. which motivated Saudi support for the Afghanistan jihad against the Soviet Union in the spirit of geo-political rivalry with Khomeini’s regime. as well as increase their influence among the Muslim minorities in the West.6 A recent estimate puts Saudi spending on religious causes abroad at between $2 billion and $3 billion per year since 1975 (comparing favourably with what was the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion). or have been edited to remove sections seen as unorthodox. which has been spent on 1.8 Another dimension of Wahhabi influence has been the subsidizing of scholars from al-Azhar. as well as a few in Morocco and Syria. a compromise that their Wahhabi military . as well as the fallout from other Islamist movements. who were specifically targeted from the 1970s onwards. the willingness and ambition of the Saudi state to assume the religious leadership of the Muslim world. And from the 1990s until the present day. 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools. in the case of Saudi Arabia. the kingdom provided shelter to Egyptian Islamists who were supported in order to act as a conservative counterweight to Nasser’s populist Arab socialism. many works deemed unsuitable are no longer in print. the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 1969 and the Islamic Development Bank in 1975 – which the Al Sa‘ud assumed would serve to cement their leadership of the Muslim world. the Al Sa‘ud recognized that they now had to work within the international order of sovereign nation-states and modern empires. However. the traditional bastion of Sunni orthodoxy. can partly be seen as a conservative reaction to external challenges to Saudi Arabia. such as that of the Egyptian cleric Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. since the 1960s in order to promote pro-Wahhabi views and to marginalize critical voices of the older generation. this leadership was contested by the Islamic Republic of Iran. which has prompted commercial non-Wahhabi publishers to produce books for the international market that will not fall foul of Saudi censors. while putting Saudi religious diplomacy into immediate political contexts is essential.10 Once the borders were closed in the late 1920s. the Muslim World League in 1962. the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and other reform movements worked to establish a set of global Islamic institutions – the Islamic University of Medina in 1961. such as the Muslim Brotherhood. but also many in Egypt.500 mosques. as a selfperceived ‘universal order that accepts no boundaries or limits’. An alliance between the Wahhabi ‘ulama’.
2000).16 The policy of the Islamic University of Medina is to allocate around 85 per cent of its places to non-Saudis. and for the Saudis. because the conservative opposition has often been led by students or younger colleagues of establishment clerics. This sharp bifurcation between religious and mundane affairs was achieved by eliding centuries of Islamic intellectual history. became an almost pure ideology.13 Abroad. it is clear that . 1999).15 Its junior counterpart in this mission has been the Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud University in Riyadh.11 However. it was the reopening of the borders for da‘wah. According to one British graduate of the Islamic University of Medina between 1985 and 1993: ‘Medina was a very diverse and internationalist university . . and Shaykh Muhammd ibn al-‘Uthaymin (d. the fracturing of Wahhabism into different subsects had come to subvert those very institutions that were meant to preserve the original dispensation of the Saudi–Wahhabi alliance. At the centre of the global Wahhabi mission is the Islamic University of Medina. the simplistic assumption of the Al Sa‘ud that the strategy of ‘buying out’ Sunni Islam would bring not only religious conformity but acceptance of their moral and political leadership of the Muslim world has failed in political terms. Internally. Yet. the Saudi system has only ever been able to encapsulate the elite corps of the ‘ulama’. which succeeded in creating a revolutionary Wahhabism. whose radical wing was defined by the globalized jihad movements of Afghanistan in the 1990s.12 but with its original theological and ritual rigidity intact. . from extreme to ultramodernist. so that original Islam (of seventh-century Arabia) could be recreated according to the political convenience of the Al Sa‘ud.17 As the same theological controversies that are normally provoked by aggressive Wahhabi missionizing are now current in north-west China and Russia as well as in Britain. although the latter is more focused on producing judges for indigenous shari ‘ah courts. the ikhwan. characterized by strict credal and ritual conformity combined with legal liberalism for the sake of the public good (maslahah) which allowed the clerics to endorse modern developments championed by the Al Sa‘ud. whose ideas have been disseminated worldwide.’14 The global spread of Wahhabism has been associated in recent decades with the scholarship of the traditionist Nasr al-Din al-Albani (d. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz (d. This was done outside the classroom. . this contentless nature of the Wahhabi vision of economics and politics meant that it was very open to influence from Islamist ideas from the 1960s onwards. in which Wahhabism. which boasts of having over 5. the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. as was rather the case with the closure of the American border in 1890.000 students from 139 countries. 1999). The teachers never encouraged students to go to Afghanistan. it was not long before the ideology of empire found a utopian expression: for the Americans. this new state Wahhabism.170 Jonathan Birt vanguard. has succeeded in setting the agenda. now circumscribed by the government at home. it was ‘manifest destiny’. in all its manifestations. but has had a wide impact upon theological and ritual debate across the Muslim world. You had all sorts of people from all over the world with a wide range of views. Crucially. the ideal surrogate for the expansionist jihad that was no longer possible. deemed unacceptable. By the 1990s.
opposition is based there. The core intellectual influences on the Ahl-i Hadith.18 Therefore. and broader Islamist. such as the supplementary school. 1762) and the Yemeni Zaydi al-Shawkani (d. in its various manifestations.20 Of note also has been the flooding of the local Islamic book market with Wahhabi literature. whose UK headquarters are in Birmingham.19 Madawi Al-Rasheed has charted the role of important religious institutions in London either funded or directly controlled by official Saudi sources. within the European context. which is also subject to Saudi patronage and influence. as a mere sub-domain of the global Wahhabi da ‘wah. having said that. British graduates from Medina number in the hundreds. it is clear from the collected responsa of the late Mawlana that much of his polemical attention was focused on reforming Sufi practices and beliefs common among British Pakistanis. 1839). a small sectarian grouping with 31 affiliated mosques nationally. whose print runs can be five to ten times that of any other British-based sectarian publication. the maintenance of segregated state schools and other ritual demarcations in the local public sphere. and many have studied at the Faculty of Da‘wah. but not the founder of Wahhabism. Ibn ‘Abd alWahhab (d. also a Medina alumnus. The first British-born graduates from the Islamic University of Medina began to return home during the early 1980s. the Deoband. In total. 1792). were the medieval Hanbalite theologian Ibn Taymiyyah (d.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 171 the orchestrated campaign to diffuse Wahhabism has been successful.24 Yet whatever sectarian amity was necessary in terms of credible negotiation with the local state. as well as to propagate their vision of Islam. in particular. the dominant Muslim ethnic group in Birmingham. with many failing to complete their degrees. and an important part of Saudi aims abroad is to counteract dissidence. Britain – and. and cooperating with other sectarian groups to achieve basic concessions from local government with regard to the provision of halal meat in schools. the United Kingdom can claim no special distinction. at least until the 1920s. was best characterized by its vehement stand against taqlid (conformity to the ancient Islamic legal schools) and was more impatient to remove local custom than even its fellow movement. and the wider impact of Saudi largesse on British Muslims in the UK. the key late medieval reformers such as the Indian Shah Wali Allah (d. as well as much of the Arab press. Yet. and the reactions that it has produced. London – now has greater strategic importance because part of the Saudi. At first. with an emphasis on building core community institutions.23 In Britain. specializing in the fundamentals of religion (usul al-din) so that they were trained as preachers rather than as imams per se. aggressively targeted for a global Englishspeaking audience.21 However. a nineteenth-century radical reform movement from North India. even in reaching the Islamic periphery.25 .22 This latter phenomenon. British students at Medina have gained a reputation for unreliability and laziness in their studies. these returnees worked closely with the Indian Ahl-i Hadith movement. I intend to concentrate here specifically on the Wahhabi mission in the UK. the movement organized itself in the 1970s under the leadership of the Birmingham imam Mawlana Mahmud Ahmad Mirpuri (1946–88). 1328) and his students.
The jihadi fringe has more appeal for radicalized Arabs. there are noticeable ethnic emphases. they produced a subsidized translation of Ibn Baz’s 1998 fatwah against terrorism. however. a veteran of the Afghanistan jihad). while JIMAS and other Wahhabis who remained open to ikhwani views are relatively more attractive to young South Asians. in 1984. Its organizational headquarters moved south to Ipswich. The critique of the Saudi state has become even further ingrained within Wahhabi circles as anti-Saudi Wahhabi scholars and activists settled in Britain during the 1990s. 1963. the Birmingham group remained strictly loyal to the Saudi insistence that the priority was not political reform but the correction of false belief and practice among Muslims. After the terrorist attacks on the USA in September 2001. a student of al-Albani who has recently been accused of being a key figure in al-Qaeda’s European network) and Muhammad al-Mas’ari (b. when a breakaway faction was formed in Birmingham. and have a disproportionate appeal among younger Somalis and Afro-Caribbean converts. under the leadership of Dawud Burbank.172 Jonathan Birt The British-born Medina graduates. and has remained supportive of ikhwani scholarship and some of the jihad movements of the 1990s. impatient with what they saw as a lack of dynamism and relevance. 1958. Shaykh ‘Abdullah Faysal (b. as are the Islamist groups such as al-Muhajiroun (the Emigrants) and Hizb al-Tahrir (the Liberation Party). c. a British convert caught in the act of attempting to blow up a Transatlantic aeroplane in December 2001. From Birmingham. who studied ‘aqidah at Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud University in Riyadh). or the Association to Revive the Way of the Messenger. who are all based in London. However. and an unwillingness to prefer English over Urdu. but who has continued essentially the same work under his own organization. who had . While JIMAS broadly accepted the ikhwani criticism of the Saudis. Those British Arabs or South Asians who are attracted to such views tend instead towards the more revolutionary strains of Wahhabism. who dominated the British branch of Hizb al-Tahrir until he was ousted in 1996. 1958). it was only in 1995 that tensions in Wahhabi circles in the Gulf became apparent in Britain. among others. Within the British sectarian context. The Saudi loyalists today have a presence in London and Luton as well as Birmingham. c. and thereafter it did much of its pioneering work in London. including North America.1960. formed the Jam‘iyat Ihya’ Minhaj al-Sunnah ( JIMAS). the figure who has done most to popularize anti-Saudi sentiment among young Muslims has been Omar Bakri Mohammed (b.26 They also were quick to disassociate themselves from Richard Reid. al-Muhajiroun. notably Shaykh Abu Hamza al-Masri (b. decisively rejecting the idea that they must be loyal to the machinations of what they view as a corrupt foreign power. Saudi dissident and former member of Hizb al-Tahrir). Although all these groups work to attain a cross-ethnic appeal. a convert and alumnus of the Islamic University of Medina.1951. the PalestinianJordanian Abu Qatadah (b. the key interest of pro-Saudi Wahhabis in Britain was to disassociate themselves from theological fellow-travellers who were advocating global jihad and even terrorism. hijacking and suicide bombing for mass distribution in the English-speaking diaspora.
In their public response. who could not be detained under existing anti-terrorist legislation. which a Scotland Yard informant describes as being part of the ‘mouth’ rather than the ‘trousers brigade’: ‘These people are inciters of terrorism. which was firstly directed towards silencing the outspoken militants. by which the former were allowed to preach radical rhetoric so long as they were not deemed to have direct involvement in terrorist activities. their vocal spokesmen have been casualties of the international ‘war against terrorism’ which has allowed their pro-Saudi rivals to . In February 2003. A similar reaction was provoked when it was discovered that a suspected Muslim hijacker bound for the UK from Stockholm on a Ryanair flight was due to attend the annual pro-Saudi Wahhabi conference in Birmingham. The British government passed antiterrorism legislation in December 2001 that enabled them to incarcerate. the first time that this law had been invoked in over a century. south London. For instance. this tactic seems to have worked to force the national debate at times to focus on questions of Muslim loyalty to the state. the loyalists attempted to capitalize on the atmosphere of panic and suspicion to harden public opinion against their critics. the current leader of the Birmingham faction. Abu Khadijah. In June 2003. without a right to trial.31 It is clear therefore that despite the ability of radical Wahhabis to garner national notoriety.27 In terms of the intra-Wahhabi dispute. After a controversial police raid on Finsbury Park Mosque in north London in January 2003. All these individuals in London incite terrorism into the youth of the UK and are all wanted in their countries. and a failed attempt was made to pass provisions against incitement to religious hatred. Abu Hamza became the first immigrant to be threatened with the stripping of his UK citizenship for ‘seriously prejudicing’ the nation’s interests under the Asylum. alternative legal instruments were used to silence or incarcerate vocal radicals. Immigration and Nationality Act 2002. They should be deported. After the attacks in the USA. and to highlight their opposition to terrorism.’28 The vocal jihadi Wahhabis and Islamists have attempted to push for further recruitment through the oxygen of controversy by enraging the British press.29 This was particularly true after the revelations in late October 2001 that some Muslim Britons had gone to fight for the Taliban. Much to the annoyance of more moderate Muslim leaders. was rendered inoperative. Abu Hamza al-Masri was excluded from it in February 2003 by the Charity Commission for using it to spread radical political propaganda. Shaykh Faysal was convicted under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act for soliciting the murder of unknown persons. was considerably more robust than the Metropolitan police in his assessment of al-Muhajiroun.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 173 attended their main mosque in Brixton. the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between known radicals and the British secret services. under political pressure from the pro-Israel lobby in particular (among others). any foreign nationals suspected of links to terrorist groups. especially right-wing newspapers. they were quick to emphasize that the authorities had ignored their warnings about the spread of jihadi elements.30 However. This has allowed radical Wahhabis to question the legitimacy of Muslim leaders such as the government-backed Muslim Council of Britain. although it was marketed primarily as the means to tackle Islamophobia.
British Islam has become more purely scripturalist. that the Wahhabi da‘wah made its greatest impact on British Muslims. Hence. For Deobandis. This influence had little to do with politics as such. he had to leave out everything that could not be proved explicitly by primary textual evidence. it is perhaps underemphasized that petrodollar Wahhabism has been a key agent of this change in recent decades. such as the Risalah Qushayriyyah for instance. he considered himself to be ‘half-Salafi’. the Deobandis. This polemic attacks not only what might be seen as a late medieval Sunni consensus in theology. This Deobandi Sufi preceptor admitted that there was now such a climate of scepticism among his disciples that when teaching classics.174 Jonathan Birt reposition themselves as moderate allies in the same campaign. the Wahhabi critique forced all groups to accelerate the shift in their religious discourse away from an implicit trust in received religious authority (taqlid ) towards direct proofs from the Qur’an and sunnah.32 This impact had much to do with the disruption of homogeneous ritual spaces – the established South Asian mosques – by the Wahhabi critique of what they describe as unfounded ritual practice. otherwise known as the Berlewis. . and to defend their attachment to the Hanaf í legal school in terms of primary sources. In particular. It was during the period 1989–95. as deviant Hanafi Sufis and blameworthy innovators in religion. as was the case in British India. with the exception of the Deobandis. various forms of which have become markers of sectarian allegiance. There has been significant recruitment from most of the main South Asian sectarian groupings. and a more generous one of ascribing divinity to other than God (shirk). law and mysticism but even those sympathetic reform movements of the last 200 years that are seen as not having sufficiently internalized the Wahhabi perspective. a general feature in Muslim societies globally. an alliance linked together by a common opposition to religious reform rather than by a mass programme of popular Islamic education. the Berlewis. like their rivals. before these internal political tensions became apparent. As a result of this aggressive recruitment. thereby obscuring the closeness in credal and ritual issues between them. In general. It is ironic. this ritual contestation has centred on the correct performance of the canonical prayer in congregation. the da‘wah provoked significant religious reactions from the established South Asian sectarianisms. Thus.33 One imam told me that while his Deobandi grandshaykh had been ‘half-Berlewi’. under pressure from the Wahhabi critique. however. and stripped of gnostic content in order to become closer to an inward praxis (tazkiyat al-nafs). that the Deobandis are portrayed with their rivals. of course. given the history of sectarian competition from the subcontinent. it has encouraged the younger British-born ‘ulama’ to accept aspects of the Wahhabi critique of Sufism. even the reformed Sufism of nineteenth-century India is further scripturalized. This is. The most affected groupings were the popular South Asian Sufi orders. but was rather fuelled by the relative novelty of arguments made in the British context with regard to correct belief and practice underpinned by a more restrictive definition of forbidden innovation in religion (bid‘ah).
the British Ba-‘Alawi scholar ‘Abdal Hakim Murad (b. perhaps the most significant ideational shift has been the rise of popular theology among British Muslim movements that have increasingly come to define ‘Muslimness’ in terms of belief rather than practice. when it could not longer be legally enforced. it would have been unthinkable that the collection of Bukhari. it only gained significant momentum with the impetus that European expansion provided in terms of dismantling the Islamic legal system. and disseminated via audio tapes and the internet. In simple terms. In particular. These have come from the anti-Wahhabi polemic within the Arab world.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 175 As the Berlewis. 1960) and the popular American scholar Hamza Yusuf (b. young adherents have had to look outside their own tradition for answers. 1954). would be taught openly at Birmingham Central Mosque. it has sparked a revival of explicitly ‘traditional’ Islamic studies that is underpinned by a vocal defence of the centrality of the ijazah (authorization to teach an Islamic discipline). which is the only way that true understanding and God’s grace may be transferred from one generation to the next. The explicit defence of what was so implicit in scribal cultures – the ijazah – is indicative of its precipitate decline at a time when religious learning is now mostly autodidactic and information about Islam is easily obtained through forms of mass communication. the formal theology (kalam) of the ‘ulama’ gave way to simplistic popular catechisms. most notably from the cultural mediators of these traditions who operated in an Anglicized milieu: the Lebanese Naqshbandi Shaykh Hisham Kabbani (b. In the British context. the Wahhabi provocation has put credal issues at the centre of the search for religious authenticity among young Muslims by extending further the list of beliefs and practices that constitute unbelief. in particular from the Sufi orders. however. 1960). the Wahhabi provocation has taken formal hadith studies out of the hands of the ‘ulama’ into those of the Muslim public. marked by the ubiquitous use of the term ‘aqidah (creed) in the twentieth century. have not emphasized Islamic education to the same degree. It is important to note that the shift towards theology was particularly important in Arabia and South Asia. the American Shadhili scholar Nuh Keller (b. as is now happening.34 For those movements closer to pure scripturalism such as the Deobandis. 1945). and putting . Until very recently. which are the chief influences on Sunni sectarianism in Britain. The taxing of a fellow-believer with unbelief (takfír) became the ultimate social sanction. However. At the same time. the model has spread from the UK to North America. The theological turn in Islamic discourses pre-dates the colonial period. of all the South Asian reform movements. revered as the most canonical of all compendiums of Prophetic tradition and the final book studied before attaining the rank of a cleric in the South Asian seminary. From the first ijazah-based intensive study course in 1994. the premodern legal categories of ‘faith’ (iman) and ‘unbelief ’ (kufr) were internalized as moral imperatives. True religion is defended as that which is connected through the continuous transmission of learning back to its Prophetic origin. the impact of Christian mission and the spread of the technologies of mass communication which made new forms of trans-local religious mobilization possible. and the chief means of drawing sectarian boundaries.
The key point of contention is over the implication of ‘disbelievers’ in this verse. With the rise of intra-Wahhabi disputes after the Gulf War of 1990–1. It is assumed that he does so because of insufficient faith and not by way of rejection. which is symptomatic of the intensified dislocation of religious ideas from fixed geographies when distance and time have been compressed. sinfulness less than sinfulness’. wrong less than wrong. verse 44: ‘Whoever does not judge by what Allah revealed. The pro-Saudi faction adopts a position close to the classical Sunni view with regard to assessing the faith of the head of a Muslim state (read King Fahd) who does not judge by Islamic law. to consideration of which groups in society rightfully deserve its application. from whether such an activity is legitimate or not. credal matters are now widely disputed and have become the preferred means of sectarian and hence social demarcation in youthful religious circles. in theological rather than jurisprudential language. The point is not that this debate should be taken to be intrinsically irrelevant to the everyday concerns of British Muslims. a lengthy digression can ensue as to whether or not the mere omission . of challenging Muslim political rule. the Kharijites and the Murji’ites. This opinion was upheld by al-Albani. Thus the discussion comes to turn upon what was the earliest theological debate in Islam between two sects. courses for recent converts now include a section on the principles of taxing others with unbelief (usul al-takfír). in other words. The rise of demotic theology among British Muslims is certainly also a product of the religious self-consciousness that minority status reinforces as well as a symptom of a period of increased sectarian division where new and relatively small groupings struggle to establish their religious credentials. William Roff ’s contention that paying close attention to contemporaneous religious debates is a key to understanding ideational and actual change in Muslim societies35 is a fruitful premise from which to start when attempting to unpack the rather dense theologized arguments that take place among British Wahhabis. in the mosques and on the street. The difficulty is what to make of this apparent outcome of globalization: the radical decontextualization of rapidly disseminated ideas in new locales. how can the apparent obscurity of their local pertinence be understood? The political debates between British Wahhabis are couched. which has been imported wholesale to the UK. in internet chat-rooms. In Luton. As a result. the debate on charges of infidelity (takfír) has moved on. that it is ‘unbelief (kufr) less than unbelief. a Saudi Wahhabi stronghold.38 Thereafter.176 Jonathan Birt under scrutiny what had formally been seen to be sound. with the early Qur’anic exegete Ibn ‘Abbas. or otherwise.37 This minor unbelief relates to actions. while major unbelief pertains to credal issues. for the most part. The following example concerns what has been the crucial debate in the last decade about the legitimacy. whether acts are considered to be an essential part of faith or not. Ibn Baz and Ibn al-‘Uthaymin. but that exactly the same debate can be found everywhere among Muslims of a certain bent in the heartland and the diaspora.36 The discussion comes to turn on the exegesis of Surah al-Ma’idah. Saudi loyalists argue. then these it is that are the disbelievers’ (wa ma lam yahkum bi-ma anzala Allah fa-ula ’ika hum al-kafirun). which arose in the 650s – namely.
He further argues that a Muslim leader who fails to apply Islamic law has broken his divine covenant with God. such as Abu Hamza al-Masri. which had an attendance of around 4.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 177 of the canonical prayer. therefore. politics becomes theological rather than jurisprudential in Wahhabi discourse so that judging the performance of the political elite becomes a matter of faith. rather than its denial. Al-‘Uthaymin and Ibn Baz agree that the simple neglect of prayer nullifies Islam.40 Wahhabi critics of the Saudi royal family have now made political dissidence itself a theological principle. G G G G G G G G Is a person who joins many groups and who criticizes anyone who maligns Sayyid Qutb part of the Salafi way? Is the ruling correct that initiating the salam with the people of innovation (ahl al-bid‘ah) is impermissible? How are we supposed to have patience when the infidels are killing Muslims and invading their lands? How are we supposed to find a good Islamic state to migrate to when even Saudi Arabia has a king? Which is the best country to migrate to? Can one train for jihad even if one’s [Muslim] trainers are not following the methodology (minhaj ) of the pious predecessors (salafiyyah)? If we all migrate [abroad]. They have attempted to add a fourth pillar to Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s three principles of monotheism:41 the unity of governance (tawhid al-hakimiyyah). it was clear from the questions asked by loyalists that pro-Saudi state propaganda. constitutes an act that obviates one’s Islam. and therefore it is the duty of scholars to tax him with unbelief and to incite the masses to rise against him in rebellion. He argues that this comment of Ibn ‘Abbas about ‘a unbelief less than unbelief ’ referred to the dispute between two groups of the Companions who both had exercised their legal reasoning.000. is under considerable pressure. Thus the whole discussion transmutes into theology proper about the relationship between faith and acts even though its genesis is a political dispute. the drift of the questions demonstrates that Wahhabi recruits seek to translate complex theological ideas into simplified acts of social and ritual avoidance of sectarian rivals. while al-Albani disagrees.42 At the annual conference (August 2001) held by Saudi Wahhabis in Birmingham. argue the opposite: that failing to apply the shari‘ah is an act of major unbelief. Principally. so as to break the natural conservatism of Sunni political theory. Pnina Werbner argues convincingly that . and from the arguments of jihadi Wahhabis in particular. and so it did not refer to outright rejection of Islamic law. which preferred autocracy to rebellion.39 The critics. then who is left to perform missionary work? What are the rulings of the scholars with regard to [the Islamic status of political rule and of waging jihad on behalf of ] Afghanistan and Chechnya? What is immediately apparent is how divorced these questions are from the local politics of inner-city Birmingham. Furthermore. however wrapped up in theology.
migrated to the ‘safe abode’ of Birmingham and then promptly married a convert. who were set on advancing personal interests.43 Once when I asked a jihadi (who was. Birmingham was a dystopia in which a whole generation of young Muslims was being lost to drug culture and criminality. the Saudi loyalists in Birmingham have. and therefore he had to look outside Britain to find ways of changing the world. an ex-banker) what he thought of local issues facing Muslims in Birmingham. At a small jihadi circle (halaqah) in Birmingham that I attended in early 2001. However. Among British Pakistanis. he launched into a ferocious diatribe against the ineffective and corrupt religious leadership of the pioneer generation. The local Wahhabi leadership denied all knowledge of the couple’s whereabouts in order to confound the attempts of her male relatives to seek redress. I suspect. In one case. on occasion. In his view. It was revealing of the attitudes of a younger generation who felt that their professional skills and contextualized cultural knowledge were being overlooked by their parents. the love match that is eventually stamped with parental approval. the social touchstone of Islamic radicalism in Birmingham – and. but there are higher rates of polygyny. conducting da‘wah and the like. The suffering of oppressed Muslims abroad is read as an allegory of how the diaspora sees its own status in Britain. locked out of local (and national) politics.44 Yet for the most part. It is evidently also a repudiation of kinship-group-based social organization in favour of what is seen as pan-ethnic as well as transnational Muslim solidarity. divorce and remarriage than in Muslim society at large. These ‘shotgun’ marriages require few of the complicated niceties that accompany the more widespread arranged method or. Thus the difference with the pioneer generation is that some in the next generation. a young Pakistani Muslim student who had become a Wahhabi taxed her parents with unbelief. who only ever numbered between eight and fifteen. It is clear that Muslim political radicalism fits within a larger framework of social and doctrinal reform that is fundamentally about challenging generational . it is estimated that rates of first-cousin marriage remained above 50 per cent in the post-migration context. increasingly.178 Jonathan Birt behind the global fabulations that invoke the imagined global Muslim nation (ummah) lie the frustrations of British Muslims at their relative social marginalization. Marriage among the Saudi loyalists is not only non-kinship-group and cross-ethnic in character. which coincides with the rationale of multicultural identity politics. neophytes were regularly exposed to the rhetoric of global jihad. proposed radical solutions. couched in rhetoric of victimhood. have instead turned towards global Islamism. of all things. both locally and nationally. Beyond politics. elsewhere – is the repudiation by a vocal minority of marriages arranged within kinship networks. the participants.45 On this issue. seemed to look for ways out of acquiescing to uncompromising appeals for immediate migration (hijrah) to the then Islamic emirate of Afghanistan or participation in holy war with the usual legal excuses of looking after aged parents. it is important to stress that it is the fabulation that really matters most of the time. It is a young Muslim’s social experiment where new social rules are being worked out in a rereading of Islamic tradition.
should not obscure the greater significance of ideational religious debates among Muslims in the diaspora. 104–21. and Madawi Al-Rasheed. 2 Although ‘Wahhabism’ has always been a polemical epithet. Islams and Modernities (London: Verso. in which the individual rather than the state became the locus of religious authority. it is equally evident that a growing political awareness of global Muslim issues has made British Muslims much less likely to absorb propaganda from a foreign state gullibly. It is about holding the ‘elders’ – the British government. 2000). Holier than Thou: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition (Washington.). especially after September 2001. Islamic movements. Furthermore. It is primarily in ritual and personal religious space that Wahhabism in Britain is likely to have a much longer-term influence in the articulation of this new sort of religious individualism. . the impact of colonialism and of new minority status in the diaspora appears to have encouraged theologized moral rearmament. expressed as ‘ummatic’ politics. which might equally be applied to historically distinct. Notes 1 This chapter is based on fieldwork conducted in Birmingham and London between 2000 and 2002. works against the public expression of local concerns in new religious movements defined by a rigid scripturalism and an agenda driven by foreign funding. 112. one’s parents. even when political engagement in the diaspora begins to emphasize local concerns as well as global fabulations. in Aziz al-Azmeh (ed. the general globalization of political concern. Wahhabism is now resolutely globalized and prone to pan-Islamist dissidence. 1985). pp. and on the merits of the increasing privatization of the religious conscience that links moral rectitude to the verities of personal faith rather than to the application of the law. from the Saudi perspective. These discussions currently centre on the relevance of taqlid to a scholarly tradition in an age of mass education and communication.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 179 hierarchies within the various Muslim ethnic groups. which initially coincided with the loss of Muslim political power. In both instances. on interviews and on a survey of popular Islamic literature produced or distributed in Britain. 3 See A. on what is the proper etiquette for all forms of public dissent. political anxieties about the loyalties of transnational Muslim diasporas to the nation-state. A History of Saudi Arabia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2002). al-Yassini. kinship group or nation-state on the part of an impatient younger generation. 1993). 4 Aziz al-Azmeh. and so. it remains my preferred usage (except in paraphrases or quotes) because it is much clearer than self-ascribed descriptions such as al-muwahidun (unitarians) or salafiyyah ( pious predecessors). the local mosque committee or corrupt Muslim governments abroad – to account in the name of a holistic identity unanchored in any ethnicity. and often theologically very divergent.46 However. DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy. It is the ‘theological turn’ in Islamic discourses from fiqh to ‘aqidah. in turn. Religion and State in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Boulder: Westview. Finally. As such. a doctrine once developed in service of tribal and then national unity has become unbound from such constraints. ‘Wahhabite Polity’. at p. Joshua Teitelbaum. this new Islamic individual comes to hold the state to account.
which nonetheless shares the qualities of empire as it can only work within the system (Hardt and Negri. today’s empire is a ‘decentred and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open. 18 Dru C. xiv). Wahhabism has been globalized. and aims at rewriting the classical Sunni heritage of higher learning in Wahhabi terms. Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. 15 Ibid. 16 See James Piscatori. 2000)) argue that unlike the older. were. 75. pp. 17 Muhammad Qasim Zaman. both in the Muslim world and among the Muslim diaspora. Empire. pp. 1999). paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections with the Arab Gulf and Beyond. which were resolutely territorial. hostile. September 2002. the proclaimed saviour of the 1979 movement. and thus part of the post-11 September security stance of some right-wing policy makers who see the strategic relationship between the USA and Saudi Arabia as misguided. 28–32 and al-Yassini. Anthony F. ‘Moral Hazard’. authors’ italics) and transcends the powers or agendas of any one state (p. Religion and State. ‘Wahhabite Polity’. expanding frontiers’ (p. 6 Ibid. Saudi ideological imperialism has been frustrated. 1328). p. 11 Al-Azmeh. Roberts (Cambridge. While. New Republic Magazine. 124. 2002). at the very least. 26 October 2001. xii. Gladney. 9 For further details. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. nineteenth-century imperialisms. ‘Transnational Islam versus Ethnic Islam in . 1955). National Review 54/20 (2002)). and after 1990. respectively. 10 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (Empire (Cambridge. had studied theology under Ibn Baz. 14 John Hooper and Brian Whitaker. In the process. Oxford. pp. in which modern Wahhabi polemical works attacking Sufism and medieval Sunni theology now predominate. 72) agrees with Alexiev’s figure for Saudi-financed mosques. pp. See Teitelbaum. Galina Yemelianova. ‘Evolution of a Wahhabi University’. 112–15. Safar al-Hawali (b. p. and possessor of a master’s degree in principles of religion from Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud University in Riyadh. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies 26 (Richmond: Curzon. a recent Riyadh edition of al-Nawawi’s Kitab al-adhkar retitled the chapter ‘Visiting the grave of the Prophet’ as ‘Visiting the mosque of the Prophet’ in line with the verdict of Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 146–50). Guardian. the figure was not thought unrealistic by several of my informants who have long experience of raising money in Saudi Arabia..180 Jonathan Birt 5 Gilles Kepel. pp.). Chair of the Department of Theology at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca. Muhammad al-Qahtani. 156. 8 E-mail communications with non-Wahhabi ‘ulama’ in Syria and Jordan. trans. and now forms a kind of reactionary counter-empire. ‘Extremist View of Islam Unites Terror Suspects: Salafi Purist Teaching Backed by Saudi Royals’. 12 Kepel. The saturation of the book market is apparent at Islamic book fairs across the Arab world. a hawkish ex-Sovietologist and Rand Corporation adviser. Holier than Thou. ‘The Salafiyya Movement in Northwest China: Islamic Fundamentalism among the Muslim Chinese’. Wahhabism has become hybridized and is no longer confined to Saudi control. Kepel ( Jihad. 102–49. 11 July 2002) of Khaled Abou El Fadl (b. MA: Belkap and Harvard University Press. Jihad. in Leif Manger (ed. the ‘awakening shaykhs’. who has taken a stand against the spread of Wahhabi thought. p. Editing of classical works is often unscrupulous or. 13 For instance. see the illuminating profile (Franklin Foer. 2002). MA: Harvard University Press. the leading state cleric. For example. 70–5. p. a professor of Islamic jurisprudence at the University of California and a former Azharite graduate and student of Muhammad al-Ghazali. 1950) and Salman al-‘Awdah (b. as I argue below. 1962). Muslim Diversity: Local Islam in Global Contexts. February 2003. 7 While this estimate comes from Alex Alexiev (‘The End of an Alliance: It’s Time to Tell the House of Saud Goodbye’.
‘Saudi religious transnationalism in London’. E-mail communication with Claudia Preckel (Ruhr University. Vikram Dodd. Guardian. including Saudi Wahhabi ones. Dodd. Brill. 2003). and Daniele Joly. Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband. for an overview of the development of the Ahl-i Hadith sect in Birmingham from the 1970s until 1995. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections within the Arab Gulf and Beyond. See Madawi Al-Rasheed. introducing 17 Najdi students who trained between 1880 and 1930 with Khan and other Ahl-i Hadith scholars in the sciences of Prophetic tradition. 31 August 2002. Here it is argued that some Muslims have been prepared ‘to provide their services to the West in order to secure some petty interests’. 86. Britannia’s Crescent: Making a Place for Muslims in British Society (Aldershot: Avebury. pp. 1995). Staff and Agencies. It is not allowed for the Muslims to disown his brother or snub him so as to remove the suspicion from himself and gain the love of the disbelievers. Clarification of the Truth in Light of Terrorism.’ This allegation is from a Muslim activist who was shown a list of candidates for arrest. Selly Oak College. 1860–1900 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. but that ‘it is obligatory on the Muslims at this time to stand shoulder to shoulder in one line facing the challenges that confront them. Usha Sanyal. 1996).Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 181 Eastern Europe: The Role of the Media’. Guardian. Guardian. Mohammed Abdul Hadi al-Oomeri (Riyadh: DarusSalam. 1870–1920 (Delhi: Oxford University Press. The Campaign to Subvert Islam as an Ideology and a System. no Muslim is safe from it and no Muslim is safe. 243–80. For a seminal overview of Berlewi–Deobandi disputation in British India see Barbara Daly Metcalf. See North. pp. ‘London’s Arab Media’. Germany). ‘Muslims in Birmingham’. thesis: Birmingham: Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations. chapter 7 in this volume. Hijackings and Suicide Bombings and an Advice to Usaamah ibn Laden from Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Baz (Birmingham: Salafi Publications. one of the founding scholars of the Ahl-i Hadith. It is also not allowed for the Muslims to forsake their brothers even if their opinions. 25 February 2003. ‘Sect Opposes Protests and Brands Terrorists as Sinners’. trends of thinking and movements are different – we should not forget that the attack is directed against the Muslims. Information given by a Birmingham-based Muslim printer who produces religious titles for several sectarian publishing houses in the city. September 2002. in Stefano Allievi and Jorgen S. Bochum. 26 December 2001. and more Muslim names were present than non-Muslim ones. for an in-depth analysis of Muslim debates on education in Birmingham. the earliest proven contact between Wahhabi scholars and the Ahl-i Hadith. p. 16 October 2001 (pamphlet). pp. 296–314. 1890). Vikram Dodd. A recent example of Wahhabi criticism of the 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 . 1982). Cornelius William North. trans. Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe (Leiden: E. ‘Muslims in Birmingham: Religious Activity in Mosques and Para-Mosques’ (Ph. Tania Branigan. In fact. Nielsen (eds). according to Arab sources. I owe this information to Guido Steinberg. Oxford. 25 February 2003. Devotional Islam and Politics in British India: Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi and his Movement. J. 2001). ‘Mosque Leader Warns over Extremist Converts’. 85–104. drawn up in advance of any legislation on incitement to religious hatred. 1998). ‘Sect Opposes Protests’. Hizb ut-Tahrir. ‘Radical Cleric Barred from Mosque’. Christa Salamandra. 1996).D. were letters written to Muhammad Siddiq Hasan Khan of Bhopal (d. schools of thought. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz. Guardian. ‘Salvation Army Boy who Converted to Campaign of Hate’. Mahmood Ahmed Mirpuri. Fatawa Sirat-e Mustaqeem.
which demonstrates the ideological closeness of the pro. Pnina Werbner. Roff. Khalq-ul-Qur’aan [arguments for the createdness of the Qur’an]. pp. A. information has come from disaffected ex-members of groups. 174–7. . ‘Whence Cometh the Law? Dog Saliva in Kelantan. according to corroborative second-hand sources. pp. Revival and Reform in Islam: A Study of Islamic Fundamentalism. p. in Alison Shaw (ed.com/group/salafipublications/messages/110 (accessed 30 November 2001) [link broken]. pp. 137–59. it is very hard to get direct information on funding from the parties involved. This comment comes from a Saudi loyalist e-group list. ed. Shari‘at and Ambiguity in South Asian Islam (Berkeley: University of California Press. 85–104. 25–42.182 Jonathan Birt 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 Deobandis illustrates the rather abstruse points of difference between them: ‘these evil Deo-Bandits [sic] who combine Soofism. p. al-Halabi. 2001). especially after September 2001. Instead. 21 November 2001. pp. 1999). Ta’weel [unfounded use of reason in the interpretation of primary textual sources]. 1989). ‘Early Sects and the Formation of Islamic Orthodoxy’. 2000). 2002). based in Birmingham. Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s three principles of monotheism are the unity of worship (tawhid al-rububiyyah). Kinship and Continuity: Pakistani Families in Britain (Amsterdam: Harvard Academic Publishers.and anti-Saudi Wahhabis in terms of theology and jurisprudence. in Fazlur Rahman. pp. A good example from Birmingham can be seen from ‘Ali Hasan al-Halabi. In this case.). In the case of the Birmingham Saudi loyalists. Moosa (Oxford: Oneworld. Given sensitivities over being accused as sell-outs by fellow British Muslims. Shaykh Abu-Hamza al-Masri. Omar Ahmed Ali Abdurrahman. A. Fazlur Rahman. Ruling by Other than what Allah Revealed [and] the Fundamentals of Takfir [al-Hukm bi-ghayr ma anzala Allah wa usul al-takfir] (Detroit: alQur’an was-Sunnah Society of North America. and intro. Ibid. the unity of divinity (tawhid al-uluhiyyah) and the unity of the Divine Names and Attributes (tawhid al-asma’ wa’l-sifat). Bibliography Abdurrahman. much funding is obtained from Kuwait. 153–83. al-‘Uthaymin. 1988). Khurooj [a reference to the tours of Tablighi Jama‘at which are condemned as baseless acts]. 87–96. reading through a commentary on Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s Usul al-thalathah by that pillar of the Saudi clerical establishment. 1937’. 1989. Ewing (ed. The Present Rulers of Islam? Are they Muslims or Not? (London: al-Firdous. in Katherine P. although not exclusively (some monies also come from local government). The Present Rulers of Islam? Are they Muslims or not?. Takfeer [taxing Muslims with unbelief].). Khawaarij and Jihad (Birmingham: Makhtabah al-Ansaar. Khalid bin Muhammad al-’Anbari. http://groups. allied with suspicions over foreign funding of Muslim organizations in general. ‘Biradi Solidarity and Cousin Marriage’. ‘A Response’. 2000). ). The Broken Chain: Reflections on the Neglect of a Tradition (Bristol: Amal Press. l07. from Abu Hanifa al-Salafi. Salafi Publications Yahoo! Group. pp.. For a modern British Muslim defence of the ijazah. Imagined Diasporas among Manchester Muslims (Oxford: SAR Press and James Currey. Alison Shaw. ‘A Response to the Permanent Committee’s Verdict’. O. Minhajus Sunnah 1 (November 2000). London: al-Firdous. Ebrahim (ed. see Aftab Malik. Kalaam [impermissible speculative theology].). Tafweedh [failing to affirm the Attributes of God when denying any human knowledge of the modality of the Divine Attributes] and many more bid’ahs [unsanctioned innovations in religion]’.yahoo. ‘Deobandi Deceivers’. 30–68. 18. William R.
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177 Al-Mehwar 123 Al-Muhajiroun (Emigrants) 172 Al-Muntada al-Islami 157. production houses 118. 76 ‘Abd al-Nabi Qalawwas Kazruni 49–50 ‘Abd al-Rasul bin Ahmad Safar 68 ‘Abd al-Rasul Safar 66. trade networks in Gulf 104–6 Afro-Asianism 104 Agha Muhammad Khalil 73 Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar 68. 122. 46–9. 173 Antoine Choueiri’s group 117. 49 Al Jazeera 116–17. 1899 72 anti-colonialism: Dutch East Indies 131–3 anti-terrorism legislation: Britain 163. education 52–3.Index ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Qusaybi 52 ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz 151. 177 ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri 49–50 ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan Safar 47. 172. 96. 66. 62. 169 Al-Barakat 102–3 Algerian Armed Islamic Group 161 Al-hawiyyah al-khalijiyyah (Gulf identity) 4. Ahmad al-Khalifah 43 ‘Abdullah Faysal 172. 27 ‘Abdullah Abu Julayja 25 ‘Abdullah b. 70 ‘Abd al-Samad al-Falimbani 131 Abdülhamid Bey 22. 98 advertising industry 112–13. 118. 45. 172 Al-Safar family see Safar family Al Sa‘ud 33. 72 Al-Khalijia 117 Al-Manara 122 Al-Masri. 40. 23. 162. Western acquisition 112. 115 Aeroflot 104 Afghanistan 156. 168. 72. 122 Al-Zarb family 61 Amsterdam 96 anational society 8 Anglo-Kuwaiti Exclusive Agreement. 122 . 161. 41. 158 Al Nahar Publications 121 Al-Qaeda 7. 68. 169–70 Al-Walid bin Talal bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz 121. 93. 121 Antwerp 96 ARA 117 Arab Ad 114 Arab Digital Distribution see ART network Arab Gulf Cup 93 Arab Holding Company for Arts and Publishing (AHCAP) 121. 123 Al-Khalifa family 39. 173 Abu Dhabi 77. expanding neighbourhoods 50–1. 72. 78–9 Al-Hayat 121 ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri 63 ‘Ali Akbar Pakrowan 52 ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri 44. 69. 77 Agha Muhammad Tahir al-Sharif 73 Ahl-i Hadith movement 171 Ahmad Abd al-Halim ibn Taymiyyah 158. 171 Ahmad al-Khatib 132 Ahmad Khan Safar 68 Ahmad Syafi Maarif 140 ‘Ajam immigrants 39. 173. citizenship 53. 73. marriages 46–7 Al-‘Ajam al-Kabir 52 Al-Amthal at-tasrif iyya 130 Al-Azhar University 131. Abu Hamza 162. 42–5. 170 Africa: economic collapse 103–4. 103.
Westernization 78 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) 1. exports to Iran 96. African presence 103. 120. 100 globalization 4–5. political conditions 40–1. 4. 120. 106. 48–9. 159. anti-Saudi feelings 159–62. 26. 106–7. 1990–1 160–1 gun smuggling affair 24. 102. 121. 139–40 Hajji Safar 64–5. state intervention 97 Dubai International Financial Centre 101 Dubai Shopping Festival 97 Dutch East Indies 129. 94. 121 Ayatollah Khomeini 159 Azyumardi Azra 140 Bahrain 8. funding 154–8. anti-colonialism 131–3 see also Indonesia Easa Saleh al-Gurg 60. 177–9. 99. 124 Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood 169 Einstein. 68–9 camel racing 93 Centre for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW) 137–8 Christians 25 Churchill. 154. population 41 Bahraini ‘Ajams see ‘Ajam immigrants ‘Bahrainization’ 40 Bahrain Monetary Agency 101 Bakhtiyari tribe 48 BAPCO 40 barasti 51 Bayt Safar 64. 52 Faysal. 119. security arrangements 105. 175 Birmingham 10. loyalty 173. 66 Hamad al-Majid 157 Hasa see Eastern Arabia Arabia. 101 Gulf Countries 1–3 Gulf studies 1. 104. 94–5. easy access 105. 79.186 Index Dubai 11. 94. 2 Gulf War. issue of visas 104–5. 177–8 Birmingham Central Mosque 175 Boulos. 130. movements 174–5 building contractors 49–50 Burbank. King 156 fidawiyyah 43 Finsbury Park Mosque 173 Florence 100 Football 93 Front Pembela Isla (Front of the Defenders of Islam) 140 funeral houses 48–9 Future TV 116 Genoa 96. Eastern see Eastern Arabia Arab Media Company 121 ARAMCO 34 ART network 113. 169. McKenzie & Company 73 Gray. occupation 43. 99 British Anti-terrorism Acts 163 British Asian Muslims see British Muslims British Muslims 10. 161. 28 hajj 2. 26. 99 ‘global city’ 9. reasons for success 94. 72 Beirut 113 ‘Beirut-on-Thames’ 153 Berlewis 174. exports to Iraq 96–7. Winston 156 civil war: Manamah 43 Coast Cup 93 Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. hybridity 8. expatriates 1. 2003 141 ‘coolie nation’ 137 Dallah al-Baraka group 121 Darul Ulum 130 Davud S ¸antub. 95. Yahudi Hoca 24–5 da’wah 150–1. Dawud 172 Bushehr 45–6 Bushehri family 47. 62. 174 Deobandis 174 dock workers 51 . 111 Gray. 154. 68. Fernand 94. 149. 7. 123. 173. 164. 40. 66. 128. heterogeneity 100. 163. 73 education: Persian immigrants 52 Egyptian: media industry 111. 79 Eastern Arabia 21–2. Paul & Company 47 Gujarati community 98 Gulf Arabs: culture 78–9. 95. 117. 170. Jean-Claude 112 Braudel. 172. 171–2. media industry 120. trade ties 29–31 East India Company 66. 136–7. Peter 113 ‘European Muslims’ 162 expatriate labour 1. influence 2–3 Fadhil neighbourhood 50. 112.
law 44. 44–5. 121 Khalid bin Sultan 121. polity 41–2. 171. 46. 8–9. 123 Lebanese: in advertising 9. 133 Ibn Sa‘ud 33 Ihsan bin Muhammad Dahlan 130 ijazah 175 ikhwan 170 iltizam 32 Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud University in Riyadh 170 immigrants 149 Indian trading community 25. female 134 Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration 133 Indonesian Muslims 137. 44. 177–8 Kalim Siddiqi 160 Kanoo family 62. 139 media industry 9–10. Saudi exiles 161. ruling family 42–3 Mansur Pasha 33 Marina Towers project 118 Ma‘sum Aly 130 Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir 48–9. 133.Index hawalah groups 48 H&C 112 H&C-Leo Burnett 112 Hizb al-Tahrir (Liberation Party) 161. ‘Ali al-Khalifah 42–3. Saudi influence 153. history 42. 172 Jam‘iyat Ihya’ Minhaj al-Sunnah ( JIMAS) 172 Jeddah 105 Jewish community 24–5 jihadi 172–3. 169 Iranian revolution 155 Isa b. 133–4. 120. British graduates 171. 46 Indonesia: Islamization 139–40. 172 Hong Kong 97 Hormuz 42 human rights: implementation 141 Hurgronje. 156. Saudi visitors 153–4 Maghram al-Ghamdi 160 Mahmud Mahır Bey 28 Manamah 41. 48–51. political influence 71–2. NGOs role 137–9 Laskar Jihad ( Jihad Troops) 140 LBC (satellite) 116. Persian immigrants 45. 129. 107 MTV 121 . 24 Minawiyyah district 51 Minhajul Abidin 130 Mirza Ahmad Khan Safar 69. 159 Islamic University of Medina 162. 121. Saudi funding 154–5. abuse 135. Islamic scholarship 132. 45. 115 merchant families 60. 122 Khalid Kanoo 63 Khamis Mosque 50 King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz University 157 King Fahd Academy 156 King Fahd Holy Qur’an Printing Complex 156 labour migration 133–6. 118–19 London 96. 129–31. 68 money laundering 100. 52 matrimonial alliances 47 Mawlana Mahmud Ahmad Mirpuri 171 MBC 116. 128. 171. contacts with Saudi Arabia 128. 117. financiers 120–3. 75 Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar 66. 76–7 Middle East see Gulf Countries Midhat Pasha 23. Malcolm 72 Mecca 2. records 63 Kanoo Group of Companies 63 187 Kanu neighbourhood 50 Kazruni family 47. Christian Snouck 132. 105. 123 MBO 113 Meade. 71. 156–7. resentment of Arab influence 140 see also Dutch East Indies Indonesian maids 133–5. image 135–6. 132. 138–9. 121. 111–12. 114. 170. 48 Kerkuklu Mahmud 28 Khalid bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-Rahman 120. 26. 115. see also mukims International Advertising Association (IAA) 112 Iqbal Asaria 163 Iran: Islamic leadership 155. 112–13. 6. Bahrain 43. 72 Islam 150 Islamic Cultural Centre 156–7. Saudi presence 151–2. 62. civil war 43. 160. slavery 130. 52. Western involvement 112. 141 Indonesian migrants 128. 77–8. Arabization 139–40. 123–4.
24. 28. 65 Muhammad Saddiq Safar 66 Muhammad Yassine 121 Muharraq 42 mukims 129. 122 Salman Rushdie 159 Sarikat Islam 131–2 Satanic Verses 159. 169 Safar family 8. Saudi 150–1. 117. Abu 162. Gulf based 2. 169 Muslim World League Journal. family tree 67. 47–8. relations with al-Khalifah 72. 161–2 religious transnationalism 7. 34 Saleh Kamel 121. 159–64. 60. 162 Pahlavi propaganda 52–3 Palestinian Hamas 161 pan-Arab market 111. religious transnationalism 10. 52 Nasir al-Din Shah 45 Nasr al-Din al-Albani 170 Natanegara see Muhammad Muchtar bin Attarid Nationality and Property Law.188 Index Penguin Books 160 Perkumpulan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (Association for the Liberation of Indonesia) 131 Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta ( Riyadh) 158 ‘Persian cooly class’ 51 Persian Gulf Club 93 Persian immigrants see ‘Ajam immigrants pilgrimage see hajj property: Manamah 44–5 qal‘at al-bahrayn 42 Qatada. origin 64. 113 Saudi Arabia: and Gulf War 160–1. 169 Saudi hybrids 150 Mubarak al-Sabah 71 Muhammad ‘Abduh 132 Muhammad al-Ghazali 121. Richard 172–3 religious groups: Ottoman period 23–6 religious networks. Iran 155–6. 29. 159–64. 66. 155–6. 31. Indonesian: role in labour migration 137–9 Offences Against the Person Act. 133. 72 . 63. Khalifah 43 Muhammad Hasan Safar 66 Muhammad Hassanein Heikal 121 Muhammad Jafar Safar 66. 112 pan-Arab media financiers 120–1 pearling 43. 47. political influence 71–2. 1861 (Britain) 173 Omar Bakri Mohammed 172 ORBIT network 113. 150–1. 63. 26–7. 170 Muhammad b. 53 Necd gendarmerie 27–8 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 69 Muhammad Muchtar bin Attarid 132 Muhammad Najjar 157 Muhammad Rahim Safar 43. intermarriages 71. Indonesian migration 8–9. Manamah 42–3 Rushdie affair 159–60 Saddam Hussein 161. migrants’ treatment 133–6. 161. 69–71. Iranian branch 66–7. 78. Bahrain branch 65. 1937 42. 169 Revolutionary United Front 103 Richie. 128. 172 Q News 161–2 Qur’an 156 Rahmatullah bin Khalil al-‘Utsman 130 Regent’s Park Mosque 156–7 Reid. Arab-Persian hybridity 65. 160 satellite television industry 111. 74. 155–6. relations with British 72–6 Said Pasha 22–3. 48–9. 48. 120 Organization of the Islamic Conference ( Jeddah) 160 Osama bin Laden 140. The 154 Muzaffar al-Din Shah 45 Nadir Shah 42 Naja Abi Assi 117 Najd 33 Najdis 51. scholarly works 129–30 mullahs 52 munshis 73–5 Muslim Minorities: Fatwa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities 151 Muslim World League 154. Ian 113 Risalah Qushayriyyah 174 Rotana 121 ruling family/ies 62. 79. 169 Muhammad ‘Ali Safar 47 Muhammad al-Khalifah 51 Muhammad al-‘Uthaymin 151. 67.
75 Sharjah 101. Alexander 113 Zulum ‘Abad district 51 . 52 Suqayyah district 51 Surat 98 Talkies 113 tamthiliyyah 48 taqlid 171 tax system: Eastern Arabia 32–3 Télé Liban 121 television stations 116–17. 170. 140. 7–11. networks 104–6 transnationalism 5–6. 48. 154 Shi‘i ‘Ajims 41. 150 United Nations 141 Venice 96. 168–9. Manamah 43. 71. 149. 45. 2001 attacks 161–2. 175–6 Walid bin Ibrahim 120–1 Westernization 78 Who Wants to be a Millionaire 114 World Trade Organization ( WTO) 107 Yahudi Murad 25 Yusuf Makassar 131 Zainab Behbahani 75 Zaki Badawi 157 Zaydi al-Shawkani 171 Zaytun. 120 terrorism 172–3 Tihama 121 ‘TKW nation’ 137 TKW (tenaga kerja wanita) see Indonesian maids 189 trade: Eastern Arabia 29–31. 130 state intervention 97–8 Sufi/sm 174. 26–7.Index Saudi Research Media Company 117 Sawt El Fan 121 Sawt Lubnan 121 September 11. 52. see also religious transnationalism transnational networks. 34. Saudi 151. 78–9. Gulf 3. 64 Singapore 97–8 slave/slavery 6. 168. networks 149–50. 105 ‘Shaykhs of Knightsbridge’ 153 Shi‘a Muslims 23. 99 Victoria Memorial Hospital (Manamah) 50 visas 104–5 Wahhabi literature 171 Wahhabism 43. 172 Shah Wali Allah 171 Sharif family 47–8. 172. 123 Zilo. 170–1. 174–5 ummah 137. 73. relations with British 73. John 68 Zen TV 117. 154 UAE Central Bank 101 ulama 130. neighbourhood 51 Shi‘i Arabs 62. 75. hubs 98. President 137 Sunnis 48. 175 Suharto.